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" Science is the knowledge of many, systematically arransed and digested so as to be 
attainable by one." — IIebschel. 


Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1863, 


In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of New 






Wi)t JHotljers ani Ii)angl)t«r0 of tl)e Cjuman Jamiln, 





This Book is Dedicated. 




Woman, Nature's most trtisted Agent in her highest Designs for 
the Race ; Statistics of the last Census ; Reports regarding Idi- 
ots, Mutes, the Blind and the Insane ; these, and Infirmity of 
every kind are the Effects of Causes which Society can lay 
hold of and remove — Illustrated ; An Appeal to the Women 
of the Nineteenth Century 13 


Intellectual and Moral Qualities Transmissible; Illustrated and 
Proved ; Progress of Opinion on this Subject ; Object of the 
Present Work ; Importance of a Knowledge of the Laws of In- 
heritance; New Incentives to Self- Culture ; Its Reward, the 
Development of a Higher Type of Humanity 17 


jaifluence of the Father on the Child through the Imagination of 
the Mother ; Her Power over the young immortal almost lim- 
itless ; When, and how circumscribed ; Value of high Health ; 
Man no Exception to Nature's great Law of Development; 
What Influences the original Organism ; Theory of Twins ; 
When it will be verified ; How to secure Noble and Worthy 
Offspring • 21 


Consanguineous Marriages deprecated ; Evil Effects not always 
present; Similarities of Temperament, of Organism, of Ten- 
dencies, frequent causes of Inherited Weaknesses; Case in 
point; Protean forms of Disease ; Antidote; Mysterious Dis- 
pensations 25 




Subject continued; Family Idiosjncracies, Mental and Physical; 
Defects, how intensified ; Dr. How's Opinion ; Some Statistics; 
What the Professor says ; The Innocent punished through the 
faults of the Guilty 29 


GeoiFroy St. Hilaire ; Monstrosity, Malformation, Idiocy and Im- 
becility not the result of a ^lind chance, but the product of a 
disturted action of beneficent Laws of Nature ; Verified by 
Experiments ; A Knowledge of the subject the basis of Hu- 
man Progress ; An Appeal to Mothers 35 


A Chapter of remarkable Facts, corroborative of the Observations 
and Arguments of Saint Hilaire ; Logical Inferences of a Con- 
traband 43 


Mysterious Power of the Mother's Imagination in producing Mal- 
formations ; When the Millennium may be expected 53 


Fatal Effects of Exhausted Physical Strength on Offspring ; In- 
stances of Scrofula, Consumption, and Idiocy, induced by it ; 
Precocious Children 58 


Reasons why we must expect fearful bills of Infant Mortality, and 
frightful evidences of Early Decline 64 


"Men are what their Mothers made them ;" Weakmindedness He- 
reditary ; Causes of Insanity among the Ignorant, the Vicious, 
and the Intemnerate ; Amcng the Educated, the Respectable. 
and the Wealthy ; Victims of Exhausted Mentality ; "Why the 
Sons of Great Men seldom become distinguished ; Intellectual 
Vampires; Why they seek Social Intercourse 68 




The Progress of the Age shown by the Present Position of Wo- 
men in Christian Countries ; The Training of B03' and Girl 
contrasted ; Its Results ; As the Mothers are, so will the Chil- 
dren be ; The Cynic's Question answered ; The Advancing 
Tide of Human Progress ; Woman's Participation 75 


M. Michelet ; The French Ideal Marriage a Poetical Fancy, repudi- 
ated by Reason and Experience ; Woman not created an Inva- 
lid ; The Laws of Nature Justified; The Child-wife a Fallacy ; 
No True Marriage except between Equals ; Opportunities for 
Higher Culture demanded for Woman ; The American Ideal 
Marriage a Substantial Reality ; The Wife's Mission 81 


M. Michelet's Audacity; Important Information for those who 
need it ; A Gem from Carlyle ; Questions put by the Inexora- 
ble ; An Eastern Fable 86 


"New Theory of Population ;" The Progressive, Unending. Devel- 
opment of the Race guaranteed by a Knowledge and Practice 
of the Moral and Physical Laws ; Individual Responsibility in 
the Parental Relation ; Children are Blessings only to the 
Worthy ; Modifying Conditions which should Limit the Num- 
ber ot Offspring ; Why Society is everywhere Cursed by the 
Weak, the Vicious, and the Improvident ; Self-Control, Man's 
True Sovereignty ; The Progressive Thoughts of the Age on 
that subject destined to pervade and elevate Society ; Some of 
the Dark Streams flowing from the Great Turbid Fountain of 
Inheritance ; Their Remedy csafe and practical ; Suggestions 
worthy of the Attention of those engaged in the Education of 
Youth y2 


National Characteristics of Americans : Mind superior to Matter ; 
A New Application of Domestic Economy suggested ; The 
Bachelor's Reasons for not marrying ; A Moral Necessity ; Ques- 
tions to be answered : Evil Effects of Attentions from Single 
Gentlemen to Young Wives; Suggestion on the subject, by 

Margaret Fuller 9S 





Human Parasites ; Nature's Ketribution ; The Converse of the Pic- 
ture ; Consolation 107 


The Causes of various Social Evils ,• The Probable Proportion of 
Children born who are cordially Welcomed by both Parents ; 
The Evils of too Early and too Frequent Maternity ; The Causes 
which produce the different characteristics of the Welcome 
and the Unwelcome Child ; The Welcome Child ; a Case prov- 
ing the practicability of conferring desirable Qualities on Off- 
spring ; Further Illustrated by h acts from Scripture, from 
Modern History , A Plea for Wives, showing how Children 
may become more Beautiful, more Healthy and Harmonious 
in Body and in Mind ; Man's Injustice or Selfishness towards 
Woman recoils upon himself, through a Degraded Offspring ; 
Retribution, or the Domestic Nemesis 110 


Highly Nervous Susceptibility one of the Distinguishing Attri- 
butes of Woman; Its Effect in the Maternal Relation ; Illus- 
trative Cases 116 


Facts more satisfactory than Argiiments ; Case of Mental and 
Physical Superiority of one Child over the others of the same 
Family; Its Causes 121 


Moral, Intellectual and Physical Qualities can be predicated; 
How ; Whom the Gods Love Die Young ; Why ; A Remarka- 
ble Musical Genius not Inherited 12C 


A remarkable Case verifying the preceding Opinions ; Reflections 
suggested by a Visit to the House of Refuge ; Dishonest Pro- 

{)ensities, when innate. How Transmitted ; Seeming Anoma- 
ies ; " Be sure your sin will find you out ;" Illustrated by In- 
teresting Facts r-.- 13C 




Examples of Hereditary Intellectual Qualities descending directly 
from the Father ; Blaise Pascal, th^ Bonheur Family, the 
Beechers. Theodore Parker, John Quincy Adams ; the i'owers 
of the last two Intensified by Able Mothers ; A Scrap of Biog- 
raphy, a Study for Husbands, Wives and Sons 137 


Dr. Laycock on the Evolutions of the Human Brain and Mind ; 
Inferences ; What has given America her proud Position 
among Nations ; How to Insure a Nation's Prosperity and Sta- 
bility ; The Effects of great Emotional Influences on a Nation; 
The great Generations appear as the fruit of such Influences ; 
Exemplified; A Prophetic Glance into Futurity 144 


Some Thoughts suggested by Darwin's " Origin of Species" ; Man, 
by studying Nature's Methods in the Irrational World, may 
produce similar Effects in the Rational ; Selection one of those 
Methods; This Principle may be applied for the Benefit of 
Humanity, and for the Progressive Development of the Race... 150 


" Natural Selection " has been gradually giving us gentler and 
more refined Races of Men ; " Selection" the Magician's Wand 
by which he may summon into Life whatever Form or Mold he 
Pleases; The Whole Secret of Transmission; Why the Ani- 
mals in Dark Caves are Blind ; The Penalty for not heeding 
Nature's Laws 156 


Quotations from Prosper Lucas on Natural Inheritance ; Trans- 
mitted Tendency to Drunkenness, to Insanity and to Suicide ; 
Children Engendered in Drunkenness often Idiotic ; This 
Subject understood by the Ancients 165 


Certain Mental Qualities transmitted in Families ? Instances of the 
Inheritance of Oratory, of Political Genius, of Poetry. &c.; 
Moral Resemblance of the Daughter to the Father, of the Son 
to the Mother ; Cases ..... , .. , 172 




Advantages of Healtli ; Inefficiency of Sickly Scholars ; From what 
Class the real Nobles, the veritable Leaders of Mankind, have 
to be recruited ; Gradual Prosjiess of Public Opinion and Pop- 
ular Taste on this Subject ; Benefits of Out-door Training for 
Girls; Examples 178 


A brief Chapter upon the Every-day Unconscious Influences 
which are the great and permanent Molders of Character in 
every Age : An acknowledged Truism ; How to truly Improve 
the Race ; Magnetic Power of Emotional Attraction ; Isolation 
Dwa.rfing in its Tendencies ; Association the continued open- 
ing up of wider Experiences; Exemplified ; Why Children so 
often disappoint the Hopes of Parents ; To Promote a more 
Perfect Human Development 185 

The Mother's Prayer 193 

A copious Appendix, containing further Proofs of the Laws of la- 
heritance, together with much Knowledge needtul to Women, 
Some of it quoted from the Writings of the most progressive 
Minds of the Age ; Some of the Evils which desecrate Human- 
ity, and impede a harmonious Development of Offspring 191 


The writer assumes in this volume that there are laws of heredita- 
ry transmission in the mental and moral, as well as the physical con- 
stitution. Precisely wh at all these laws are, she does not assume to 
state. Careful observation, and an earnest sense of their import- 
ance, must be employed for their full discovery. In the mean 
time, acquaintance with such as are known will be helpful to 
all, and will facilitate the discovery of those yet hidden from us. 
Women, who bear so important a part in parentage, should be the 
most clear-sighted students of Nature in these things. They 
know so much more from experience in maternity, than men can 
know in paternity, — the nearest of possible relations before birth 
is so exclusively theirs, — they are so exceedingly emotional, and 
appreciative of external influences bearing on themselves, and 
through themselves on the unborn, that much — most, in this de- 
partment must -naturally fall to them. 

We have not only endeavored to give the facts for the law of 
maternal power, but according to the best authorities and the 
widest observation, have stated the law for the facts ; so far, at 
least, as the mother's power during the period of gestation is con- 
cerned. The important points developed are. First, That the 
mother's intellectual activity, under certain circumstances, de- 
scends : Second, That her affectional state, if not overruled by 
some more powerful impressions, has a degree of influence almost 
determining in character : Third, That her susceptibility aswoman, 
makes the choice of influences that shall co-operate with her ma- 
ternal forces a momentous power in its results on her child. 


Wc have also shown some of the physiological conditions that 
are the most influential to offspring. While scientific men dispute 
what these are, it behooves women, who love truth for its practi- 
cal value in increasing human happiness, to take such as are known 
for their daily law of life. Society is directly concerned that they 
should do so, since its interests rest so largely in them ; their 
children, also, have a sacred claim on them for protection against 
the wrongs which ignorance or apathy may inflict. If the mother 
forsakes them before she gives them birth, what power can restore 
their lost faculties or deficient energy ? 

In the year 1860, the governors of the States of Ohio and Ken- 
tucky, in their annual messages to the Legislators recommended 
and urged the enactment of a penal statute against the marriages 
of blood relations, on the ground that those States were already 
heavily burdened with the deaf and dumb, blind, imbecile, and 
idiotic offspring of sucn marriages. What a fearful betrayal of 
the weak and the helpless, who, innocent of all complicity in their 
own ruin, can get no redress, and have no appeal from the igno- 
rance, the selfishness, or the mercenary spirit which has thus sac- 
rificed them. 

It is to woman that humanity must look for abatement of such 
frightful evils ; for it is she who loves perfection, — who awakened 
in her consciousness, strives with the artist's yearning for it — with 
religious enthusiasm that it may appear. Nature's most trusted 
agent, in her highest designs for the race every individual of hec 
sex is under a solemn obligation to every less enlightened one to 
bring her to a knowledge of the power with which she is clothed 
— of the legitimate results of its use, and the possible conse- 
quences of its neglect. Yet this, which ought to be a part of the 
instruction of every woman, is the last word she ever hears 
from those professing to educate and fit her for the duties, the 
responsibilities, and the privileges of life. " Much that pertains to 
the same phenomena among the lower animals may very properly 
constitute a part of her studies in natural history, if she have a 
taste for it, but with the laws which govern the most momentous 
Df all social effects — the moral and mental constitution of individ- 
uals composing society — with the gravest of possible residts to her- 
self — the embodiment of power or weakness, capacity or incapac-. 


ity, wortli or wortMessness in her own oflfspring, she is forbidden 
all acquaintance. Yet when she assumes the duties and the 
responsibilities of maternity, such knowledge would be more val- 
uable to her and to those dearest to her, than all of the treasures 
of the gold-bearing lands of the nineteenth century, if poured at 
her feet. 

Intelligent persons are learning in these days, that idiocy, and 
some of the physical infirmities, which fill our hospitals and asy- 
lums with armies of unfortunates, blighted in brain or in 
body, have causes which can be removed. Society does not now, 
as uniformly was its wont, lay all such calamities at God's door, 
and thus wash its hands of all responsibility touching them. 
But if idiocy, then imbecility also, and if imbecility then those 
degrees of inferiority which, less than either, are still suflScient 
to make their subject a burthen, rather than a help to the com- 
munity to which he belongs. 

The dependence of every fact upon some law, is predicable to 
the philosophic mind. Yet it is necessary to exhibit a basis of 
relation between the existing cause, and the manifest fact with 
which we are called to deal. This work treats of idiocy and infe- 
riority of every kind as effects of causes which individuals and so- 
ciety can lay hold upon and remove. That they are such will be 
apparent to all who take the trouble to examine the testimony set 
forth in these pages. 

Uniformity of appearance, development, and disappearance in 
any phenomena, are evidences of a law behind it, which laying 
near to common observation, is little likely to be denied. The 
Census returns of every country in Christendom, since statistics 
became a science, show a very uniform per-centage of idiocy and 
imbecility. It keeps pace with the increase and the decrease of 
population, and exhibits marked variations from these only when 
known and striking causes which might be expected to contribute 
to such results, have appeared. Thus according to Baron Percie, 
of ninety-two children born in the department of Landau in the 
month immediately succeeding the Reign of Terror, sixteen died 
at birth ; thirty -three lived from eight to ten months ; eight be- 
came idiotic, and died under five years of age ; and two were 
born with fractured bones. Thus more than fifty per cent of 


these unfortunates were actually killed by the fright and agita» 
tion of the mothers. We know not how many among those who 
Sirvived, were the subjects of less degrees of inferiority which 
they had to endure throughout their lives in consequence of the 
strong and terrible impressions upon the maternal susceptibili- 
ties. Here is seen on a large scale, the operation of causes which 
acting singly, lead to like results in the case of families and indi- 

The last Census reports of the United States exhibit respective- 
ly in round numbers, twenty-four thousand insane, eighteen thou- 
sand idiotic, fourteen thousand deaf and dumb, and eleven thou- 
sand blind among us — a fearful army for a nation of less than 
thirty millions, claiming to be, all things considered, the most 
enlightened people on the earth. When we reflect that in all 
probability many thousand imbeciles, barely separated by a 
"carcely appreciable development from idiots, escaped numera- 
.<ion, we may well begin to inquire for the remedies of this fearful 
state of things ; and call to their posts those whom Nature has 
empowered to prevent such terrible evils. These are the mothers, 
the women of our nation: what they in their creative capacit}^ 
have left undone for their offspring, the idiot-trainer, the criminal 
Judge, or prison discipline, mast do in their stead, for these vic- 
tims of their ignorance or faithlessness. 

It is time we should awake, women of the nineteenth century, 
to our duties and to our privileges as well. Never were such op- 
portunities offered our sex before — never grew such noble fruit of 
earnest effort within our reach, as now hangs upon the branches 
of the tree of knowledge for us, to be gathered in fair womanly 
conscientious dealing towards those whom we love best on the 
earth — whose helplessness has no redress if we fail them — our un- 
born children. God so commend them, and through them, hu- 
manity, to our hearts and minds, that we cannot fail in our duty 
to either. God make our nation as great in its woman-hood, as it 
is in its political, civil and religious stature, since by the power 
of the first only, can the last be preserved, strengthened, and im. 
proved, from generation to generation. 





MoEE than twent}^ years have elapsed since this 
writer issued tlie iirst edition of a volume entitled 
" Mental and Moral Qualities transmissible from Pa- 
rent to Offspring," — a work that has been widely cir- 
culated, and which, as far as the author is aware, was 
the first extensive treatise on that subject. This book 
is now known under the title of " The Parent's Guide" 
— it dwells not only on the certainty, but it also sug- 
gests the means, of transmitting talent and virtue from 
parent to child. 

It is there shown, that while education and habits 
subsequent to birth, are all important, yet, that 
transmitted hereditary qualities, give the original 
bias, which is never afterwards entirely overcome. 
And also, that the biographer must go further back 
than education, in order to elicit the true cause 
which produced pre-eminence in the subject of his 
memoir ; for the Creator has given to man, his pecu- 
liar reasoning faculties, for the purpose, that Jiere at 


elseioTiere^ he might acquire the direction of events, 
hy discovering the laws regulating their successions. 
The following paragraph is from this work : 
" It cannot be denied that if the same amount of 
knowledge and care which has been taken to im- 
prove the domestic animals, had been bestowed npon 
the human species, during the last century, there 
would not have been so great a number of moral 
patients for the prisons, or for the lunatic asylums, 
as there are at present. That the human species are 
as susceptible of improvement as domestic animals, 
who can deny ? Then is it not strange that man, pos- 
sessing so much information on this subject, and ac- 
knowledging* the laws which govern such matters, 
should lose sight of those laws in perpetuating his own 
species ? Yet how extremely shortsighted is that in- 
dividual who, in forming a matrimonial connection, 
overlooks the important consideration of the quali- 
ty of the physical and mental constitution which his 
children will be likely to inherit ? And also, that a 
great portion of the happiness or misery of his future 
life will depend upon the conduct of those children : 
and again, that their manifestations, whether for good 
or evil, will be the effect of the mental and physical 
organization which they inherit. The time is fast ap- 
proaching when men will have to pay more attention 
to this subject ; for a knowledge of Phrenology, the 
science which tests such matters, is rapidly spreading ; 
consequently the parent cannot hope much longer to 
receive the sympathy of society for the perverse con- 
duct of his child, — on the contrary, the child will be 
commiserated for having inherited active animal pro- 


pensities, accompanied by deficient moral and reflec- 
tive organs." 

This prediction has already been verified ; much at- 
tention has been directed to the question of transmit- 
ted tendencies, by some of the most profound observ- 
ers and philosophical reasoners of the age. And the 
hitherto apathetic, are beginning to discard time-worn 
prejudices, and to look into the subject with interest 
and intelligence. 

The present work is intended to supply the deficien- 
cies of the previous one, — to collect, condense and put 
into popular form, Pome of the great truths contained 
in the recently published works intended exclusively 
for the medical profession, or for the natural philoso- 
pher. Its aim is also to take a much broader and 
more comprehensive view of the whole subject ; to 
further develope other important laws on the trans- 
mission of desirable qualities, — to show how various 
occupations, circumstances and relations of life, help 
to modify the character of the parents, and that the 
offspring are thus inevitably affected by the whole 
past lives of their progenitors. 

A deep conviction of the importance of these truths 
will make all of life full of the highest and most touch- 
ing responsibilities— will give a new and direct impe 
tus to the cultivation of good habits, and to a recogni 
tion of the necessity of preserving a sound constitu- 
tion. All young persons must feel the stimulus of a 
great and unselfish motive, to the cultivation of their 
highest powers, and to the subjugation of their lowest 
propensities; they must be taught to look forward 
hopefully to lives which may be kindled into being — 


sparks of immortal flame scintillated from tlieir own 
pure natures. 

It is thus, through our affection al and social as well 
as our devotional instincts, that the Almighty presents 
the highest possible motives for well-doing. The holy 
fire of self-sacrifice which is kept burning more or less 
brightly on the altar of every heart, is the noblest in- 
cense that we can offer to the Creator. We have only 
to appeal to this to show how it can practically secure 
the good it seeks, and many a generous sentiment will 
embody itself into form — and thus a new and beauti- 
ful human organization will spring into existence ; and 
children born pure and good themselves, will become 
the worthy parents of a still higher type of humanity. 



If the fatlier of a child be one upon whom the mo- 
ther's mind can dwell with enthusiasm, not only with 
ardent affection, but with proud admiration of his no- 
ble nature, then the offspring will be so many copies 
of the father — spiritualized and enlarged by the glori- 
fied imagination of the mother. 

■More than half of the children born into the world 
resemble the father more than they do the mother. As 
a holy and ennobling influence, or, as an unhallowed 
and disturbing one, he must be often present in her 
thoughts; she bears the impression of him in her soul 
during the whole ante-natal life of her child ; 
therefore, his influence for good, or for evil, must be 
very great, 

"When attention is first directed to the improvement 
of the human race, it is natural that we should dwell 
largely upon the proper conditions of the mother. 
She seems more nearly related to the child, and her 
influence is more directly obvious. There are those 
who believe that the mother's power over the char- 
acter of her offspring is almost omnipotent ; hence 
they pay little attention to the father, and even as- 


sume that though he should be an invalid, an imbecile oi 
a debauchee, yet the mother can make hers a model 
child, pliysically, mentally and morally. We would 
not underrate her power in any of these respects ; it is 
almost limitless. What all the forces of Nature com- 
bined in the earth, the rain and the sunshine, can do 
for the young plant, that also can the perfectly healthy 
mother do towards nourishing her unborn child. This, 
however, is only the material portion of her work, — 
her higher human nature will also leave its divine im- 
press upon the young immortal. 

The value, then, of physical health, — of the most 
cheerful, inspiriting conditions of an active, self-reli- 
ant, mental life, on the part of the mother, can never 
be exaggerated. Her resolute will can do very much 
towards modifying and controlling all unfortunate cir- 
cumstances ; but she cannot work miracles, she can- 
not subvert the action of the organic laws. An oak 
tree will never grow from a beech nut, nor a rose 
spring from the bulb of a lily. So the Ethiopian is 
never father to a Caucasian ; nor can a weak-minded 
man ever hope to become the parent of a strong-minded 
offspring. Favorable conditions may, indeed, work 
marvellously towards the development of a feeble 
germ, — we may nourish the weakest plant into some- 
thing like vigor and hardiness, but one strong and rare 
seedling is worth many hundreds of any common va- 
riety. These analogies are full of meaning, for man is 
no exception, to Nature's great law of development. 

In the improvement of animals, we are already 
aware of the great importance attached to the pure 
blood of the male. Both parents unite in creating 


the embryo ; it is the reproduction of neither ; but if 
all conditions are favorable, it should be an improve- 
ment upon both. Nature is so intent on this result 
that in spite of the crimes, follies, and stupidities of the 
race, she has yet managed to bring up the tone of the 
general mind many degrees. Perhaps no child begins 
life on so low a plan, mentally, as did some of his dull 
phlegmatic ancestors. Compare the generation of to- 
day with even that of a hundred years since, — the 
present has greatly the advantage. We talk of in- 
heriting the cultivation of a long line of ancestors; 
true, we inherit the results of their culture through the 
medium of the law of development. 

The habits of the mother, and the accumulation of 
all other influences through her during the whole pe- 
riod of gestation, are of immense importance. Yet 
the previous habits of both parents are still more im- 
portant, it is these that influence the original constitu- 
tion of the future man, — one in nurturing the seed- 
ling, the other in determining the inherent character 
and organism. The functions being thus difi*erent, 
there can be no adequate comparison between them. 

Education and nurture, both before and after birth, 
can do much for every child, but these can never 
makes a Shakespere, a Bacon, a Mozart, an Elizabeth 
Fry, or a G-eorge Sand. All great genius, strength, 
and originality of character must be inborn, — they 
cannot be superinduced by any subsequent culture. 

"We generally find a great similarity in all children 
of the same birth. A twin is a synonyme for marked 
resemblance. The same influences have operated up- 
on these closely-united little lives — therefore the like- 


ness in result. Occasionally, however, we find one 
blue-eyed, fair-haired, and gentle in character ; whilst 
tiie other is dark-eyed, raven-haired, restless and viva- 
cious. However we may theorize about causes, the 
diiierences, both mentally and physically, are organic. 
"Were they conceived at different times, when the pa- 
rents were in different moods — or did one take on the 
prevailing type of the father, and tlie other that of the 
motlier ? 

When as much thought shall have been bestowed 
upon the organic improvement of the human species, 
as the horticulturist has given to his art, we may then 
learn something of the laws for the transmission of 
mental activity — of genius — of sameness or diversity 
of talent, and of all the transcendent powers of hu- 

One general principle, however, may be laid down 
as infallible. He who has lived most in accordance 
with his whole complex nature — developing all his 
powers in tlie highest harmony, is best fitted to be- 
queath a like harmonious organism to his offspring. — 
But as there are two parents who bring this new life 
into existence, these two must assimilate and blend 
into the one, if they would rnake it a pre-eminently 
more exalted being than themselves. The brutes, 
with their fierce instincts, care for nothing higher — 
but these united intelligences must subjugate and 
transcend all mere animal prDpensities, if they would 
become the parents of a noble and worthy offspring ! 

* See Appendix A, 



Much has been said and written upon the effects of 
consanguinity in marriage. It is generally thought 
that blood relationship is a great cause of imbecility 
and disease ; statistics showing the frightful results of 
the intermarriage of near relations are appalling. It 
is impossible to gainsay these attested facts ; jet there 
are numerous cases in which the children of such mar- 
riages are unusually brilliant in mind, and healthy in 

How are we to account for such directly o]3posite 
results,— can kindred blood produce both good and 
evil ? Doubtless, there are cases in which persons 
nearly related might marry, and no evil ensue ; while 
in other instances the marriage of second cousins 
would produce diseased and idiotic children. All this 
may seem mysterious, but is, undoubtedly, the effect 
of fixed and unchanging laws. 

The child is the blending, the further development 
of both parents ; and if the two are alike in anything, 
their offspring will inherit that peculiarity in a still 
more exaggerated form. If then, there be a healthy 
mental activity, the child may excel ; or if the func- 



tions were already excessively active in both parents, 
in the child it may be so undue as to become morbid, 
and altogether abnormal. The result, even in this 
good direction, may be a highly nervous tendency, in- 
sanity, or an early death. 

Again, if the parents have each the same weakness, 
mental or physical, these will become still further de- 
veloped in their descendants. The blind, the deaf and 
dumb, and the weak-minded, are the natural effects of 
such causes. 

In the early ages of the world, among Greeks, Jews, 
and other nations, the marriage of half brothers and 
sisters was frequent. Such unions were, generally, 
less prolific, but the children were likely to be finely 
formed and beautifal. The same thing now, when the 
race is enfeebled by luxurious living, artificial habits, 
and inherited disease, would result in sterility, abor- 
tions, and idiotic monstrosities. 

We see something of the old result produced by the 
union of cousins and other relations, among the society 
qf friends, in some communities in our midst. The 
children become gentle, refined, and wonderfully 
alike; they may be recognized without their plain 
dress. These marriages are frequently without off- 
spring ; and if continued through several generations, 
produce the well-known disastrous consequences. 

Consanguinity in itself may be no obstacle to a 
prosperous union ; but similarity of temperament, or 
of organism, or of tendencies, is a most fearful obstacle 
in the present state of civilivation. Such similarity, 
although it may not manifest itself strongly, is almost 
certain to exist in blood relations ; hence such unions 


elionld be discouraged. All possible moral considera- 
tions are arrayed against them. 

In a country town in western 'New Jersey lived two 
eousins united in wedlock. They were large, portly 
persons of a lymphatic temperament, resembling each 
other in looks more than do most brothers and sisters. 
They had ten children ; two were boys of ordinary 
ability, but all the others were idiotic. Most of them 
died early. Two daughters, however, lived to the age 
of womanhood ; and the friend who gave me this fact 
said that they were mere lumps of flesh, helpless, and 
apparently soulless ; yet strangely like their parents in 
form and feature. The father and mother were both 
healthy and intelligent, and outlived all of their ten 
children. After the wife's death the husband married 
again, and the children of this union, all of whom are 
still living, possess ordinary good health and intelli- 

Family weaknesses, or physical peculiarities, will de- 
scend through one parent from generation to genera- 
tion, in despite of counteracting tendencies from the 
other. The trait, whatever it be, will frequently dis- 
appear in one generation to reappear in the next. Then 
if both parents possess it, it is certain to be greatly ex- 
aggerated in the descendants. 

Are any hjisband and wife exceedingly nervous and 
irritable ? Let them expect their children to be like 
themselves. Are they, one or both, restless, often 
sleepless, and " broken down in nervous system ?" Let 
them anticipate for their children an afflicted life and 
an early death. In addition to all this, are they 
cousins ? — entailing on their offspring a thousand name- 


less acute tendencies, — let them look forward to insan- 
ity, or some form of mental mania, — it is almost inev- 

The forms of disease, both mental and physical, are 
so various that it is impossible to predicate fixed and cer- 
tain results with any degree of accuracy. The causes 
acting are hidden and complicated, and our knowledge 
of modifying circumstances imperfect ; yet we can lay 
down general laws, general effects, from general j)rin- 
ciples and causes. 

Temperate habits and an enlightened education may 
do much to overcome even organic weaknesses. There 
are parents with feeble constitutions who, by con- 
scientiously obeying the laws of health, steadily accu- 
mulate a new stock of vitality. These cany their 
children above tiieir own level in mind and in body ; 
they give them an upward tendency, and may reason- 
ably expect a healthy offspring. 

Another couple are healthy and hardy, but they 
live too fast, — they are gradually exhausting their 
strength and vitality ; and their children are born be- 
low themselves. The impetus given them is in the de- 
scending grade, — they tend downward as the others 
tend upward. " What a mysterious dispensation," ex- 
claims the devout fatalist, " these children of weakly 
parents are healthy, whilst those of the strong ones are 
feeble 1" 



There is probably no trait or peculiarity of either 
mind or body, which has not, from time to time, been 
directly transmitted to children. The tendency to vir- 
tue and to vice, to genius and to dullness, to the geni- 
al easy enjoyment of life, and to the gloomiest hypo- 
chondria, has descended from parent to child for gene- 
ration after generation ; each family retaining its own 
peculiarities, physical, mental or moral, almost intact. 

We often find most marked family idiosyncracies — 
most fantastic and ludicrous resemblances, looks and 
ways, which depend neither upon features nor com- 
plexion, and are recognised by a stranger more readi- 
ly than by an acquaintance ; but which we can all see 
arise more from a grouping of traits and qualities, 
than from any one peculiarity. 

A friend related to me this fact; I give it as nearly 
as possible in her own words. 

" When I was a school girl, I was sitting beside a 
companion, and taking her hand in mine, I was meas- 
uring it against my own palm ; it was so broad that it 
astonished me ; and good breeding could scarcely pre- 
vent me from uttering an exclamatipn of surprise. 


" ' It's large enough for the fifth finger,' said the 
girl, laughing good-naturedly. ' I like to have had it. 
Mj grandfather, my great-grandfather, and my great- 
great-grandfather had five fingers on the left hand. 
The extra one, which was small, was always cut off 
when the child was a baby ; but it reappeared in the 
next generation. My father escaped, but I like to 
have inherited the family mark.' 

" She held up her hand, and I could really fancy 
that another finger was ready to come out of the large 
joint at the base of tlie little finger, which was unu- 
sually long. I found this was no joke of the girl's, 
but a literal fact. Her father was a Methodist minis- 
ter tben living in Ohio ; and I afterwards spent a week 
in her family, where I heard the story of the heredita- 
ry five fingers repeated, and solemn]}^ attested by oth- 
ers of the family." 

Deafness is very often transmitted to children. I 
have known two cases where the mother, and nearly 
every child was " hard of hearing ;" and other cases 
where the infirmity was inherited from the father, or 
from one of the grand-parents. There was no more room 
to doubt that it was inherited, than there is to doubt 
that the png nose, the coarse black hair, or high cheek 
bones are hereditary when they are the fac-similes of the 
parents. Yet one child in a family may have black 
hair, while another's is light, fine, and curly. Nature 
seems capricious, though she is really most orderly, 
staid, and law-abiding in all her ways. Her resources 
are so numerous, that she draws from various, and 
sometimes most unexpected and unacknowledged, 
(such as the mother's imagination) sources, to produce 


her results. "We are puzzled, and ready to doubt or to 
deny their legitimacy ; yet, by discarding time-worn 
errors and ignorant prejudices, and allowing ourselves 
a wider range of observation, and a more careful 
watchfulness, we shall learn that this is folly. 

*' There was a proud family of D s, and anoth- 
er of W s, living in Eastern Massachusetts," said 

an old gentleman of seventy-five, " who had intermar- 
ried ever since they came into the country, and before 
for aught I know. They were all cousins and double 
cousins ; at last tlp'ngs came to such a pass that there 
was hardly a sound child born among them. They 
were blind, or deaf and dnmb, or foolish ; or some- 
thing else was the matter, till it became a country 
talk, and every body said that it was because they 
married blood-relations. They had to give it up, and 
marry other people ; and when I went back there a 
few years ago, both names had run out. There were 

no D s or W s as far as I could learn, in 

the community. It might have been cousins marrying 
— I don't know about that ; I know people said so. — 
But I have known cousins to marry, and they had 
healthy, bright children." 

This old gentleman's testimony seemed to me just 
in point ; he had no theory to maintain, and merely 
stated a fact in reply to a question. 

If any defect existed on the father's side, and the 
children of brothers were to marry, this defect would 
be very likely to be exaggerated in their offspring ; 
while if the son should marry his mother's niece, 
though she were his own cousin, yet that particular 
defect would be less likely to appear in their children. 


Its recurrence would be still less probable if his wife 
were in no wise related ; their opposite qualities would 
modify and limit each other ; and they might, under 
ordinary circumstances, reasonably expect a proper 
and well developed offspring. One who marries a 
relation, must always do it at a risk ; he and his chil- 
dren may escape, and yet the sin be visited upon the 
third and the fourth generations. 

"The transmission of any infirmity," says Dr. Howe, 
" is not always direct. It is not always in the same 
form. It may be modified by the influence of one 
sound parent ; it may skip one generation ; it m.ay af- 
fect one in one form, and another in another ; so in a 
thousand ways, it may elude observation, because it 
may affect a child merely by diminisliing ^ not by des- 
troying the vigor of his mind and body — almost pa- 
ralyzing one mental faculty, or giving fearful activity 
to one animal propensity, and so reappearing in the 
child in a different dress from that it wore in the pa- 
rents. Variety is the great law of Nature, and it 
holds good in the transmission of diseased tendencies, 
as well as in every thing else. But unerring certain- 
ty, too, is alike characteristic of this law, and let no 
one flatter himself or herself that its penalty can be 

A Committee in Massachusetts reported to the Sen- 
ate upon the cases of seventeen families, in which 
there were marriages of blood-relations. This is the 
statement. " Most of the parents were intemperate or 
scrofulous ; some were both the one and the other ; of 
course there were other causes to increase the chances 
of infirm offspring, besides that of the intermarriage. 


There were born unto them ninety-five children, of 
whom FOETT-FOUK Were idiotic, twelve others were 
scrofulous and puny, one was deaf, and one was a 
dwarf! In some cases, all the children were either 
very scrofulous or puny. In one family of eight 
children, live were idiotic." 

Thus Nature inflicts her penalties for all violations 
of her laws. Her processes are often slow and unseen 
— but the results sure. Our safety lies in studying 
carefully her ways, and ruling ourselves by her pre- 
cepts ; when we are ignorant or in doubt, let us err on 
the side of caution. 

The witty "Professor" of the Atlantic Monthly 
says, " It is frightful to be in an atmosphere of family 
idiosyncracies ; to see all the hereditary uncomeliness 
or infirmity of body, all the defects of speech, all the 
failings of temper, intcDsified by concentration, so that 
every fault of our own finds itself uiultiplied by reflec- 
tions, like our images in a saloon lined by mirrors ! — 
Nature knows what she is about. The centrifugal 
principle which grows out of the antipathy of like to 
like, is only the repetition in character of the arrange- 
ment we see expressed materially in certain seed-cap- 
sules, wldch burst and throw the seed to all points of 
the compass. A house is a large pod with a human 
germ or two in each of its cells or chambers ; it opens 
by dehescence of the front door by and by, and j)ro- 
jects one of its germs into Kansas, another to San 
Francisco, another to Chicago, and so on ; and this 
that Smith may not be Smithed to death, and Brown 
be Brov^med into a mad-house, but mix in with the 
world again, and struggle back to average humanity." 



Truly, ISTature understands lier work, and slie will 
do her best to see that it is properly executed. Yet 
she needs our co-operation as sensible and reflective 
beings, to aid her in carrying out her designs. If we 
will not aid her as moral beings, she will leave the 
Cain's mark upon our children and our children's 
children ; thus through them — through their trials and 
sufferings, will she teach us how holy and equitable 
are her laws ; since, to violate them brings ruin not 
only to ourselves, but to those dearer than self — the 
children of our love. There is nothing more touching 
— more reproving, than the anguish which c©mes to 
the parent through the defects of his child — defects 
visited upon the innocent through the faults of the 
guilty I 



The laws of Nature are the principles which inhere 
in Nature. They are the attributes or the essential 
qualities of things ; and are necessarily, as permanent 
and indestructible as are the existences to which they 
belong. Natural laws are not only a part of Nature^ 
but they are its only vital and permanent forces. They 
are the exponents of that activity within it which saves 
it from stagnation. 

Of course, then, these innate controlling principles, 
the only real or Natural laws, must be always opera- 
tive — always tending to like results under like circum- 

We have only to study the principles of organized 
matter, and then to clasify the knowledge obtained, in 
order to predicate facts, and to make deductions which 
shall be the same in every given instance. If we have 
tested the properties of one specimen of pure iron and 
have analyzed one ray of sunshine we understand thus 
much of all iron, and of all sunlight. So of each prin- 
ciple in Nature ; whether in the physical, mental, or 
moral departments. If we have discovered any essen- 
tial law, either of matter or of mind it is a law which 


is always operative, always if left undisturbed, certain 
to produce the same results ; and always if disturbed, 
seel?:ing according to its intrinsic nature, to overcome 
the disturbance by exerting its force towards the nor- • 
nial and desired end. i 

Probably no nation has surpassed the French in a 
close observation of the laws of Nature ; and in a phil- 
osophical induction and classification of its results. 

" All successful men," says Emerson, " have agreed 
in one thing ; they were causationists. They believed 
that things went not by luck, but by law ; that there 
was not a weak or cracked link in the chain that joins 
the first and the last of things. A belief in causality 
or strict connexion between every trifle and the prin- 
ciple of living, and in consequence, belief in compen- 
sation, or that nothing is got for nothing — character- 
izes all valuable minds, and must control every efi'ort 
that is made by an industrious one." 

Geoifroy Saint Hilaire made the study of monstros- 
ities a speciality. I have translated the following 
summary of the fruits of that study, from a memoir by 
his son, recently published in Paris. 

Up to the time when Meckel and G-eifroy St. Hilaire 
began to reduce the chaos of observation, hypothesis 
and fiction, relating to monstrosities into something 
like the order of science, the strange anomalies which 
were frequently presenting themselves, both in human 
beings and in animals, were considered, first, — as inex- 
plicable "freaks of Nature;" second, — as the result of 
pre-existent deformities; third, — as irregularities inex- 
plicable and irreducible to law. The very term mon- 
strosity implies a contradiction to all laws. And for a 


philosopher to have said to the world, — This monstros- 
ity is the product of precisely the same laws as those 
which produce the normal being ; would have been to 
draw upon himself something of the wonderment and 
scorn which rise in the mind, when first men are told 
that social and historical phenomena capricious and 
wayward as they appear, are serial products of laws 
absolute and ascertainable. What Cooite has done for 
sociology, Geoffroy did for teratology. He considers 
monstrosities as organic deviations. They are not the 
product of hazard or caprice. They have their laws ; 
these laws are the same as those that form all organ- 
isms ; instead of escaping the general laws of organiza- 
tion, they only serve to prove their universality. 

Geoffroy Saint Hilaire studies the circumstances at- 
tending the birth of monsters, and he sees in a great num- 
ber of cases an accident ; for instance, a fall, a blow, a 
lively moral impression, disturb a pregnancy, until 
then regular, which from that moment becomes diffi- 
cult, sickly, extraordinary and terminates at nine, eight, 
or seven months in the birth of a monster. Still more, 
he goes so far as to discern, at least in regard to pseu- 
docephalic, and acephalic monsters, the nature, and 
above all, at what period the accident took place 
which caused them. 

The certainty of his diagnosis is such that more than 
once he dares affirm upon the circumstances of the 
pregnancy, or of the birth, that which the mother her- 
self had denied ; but which she saw herself compelled 
to avow. '' Who has revealed to you our secret?" 

One day a physician told him he was about to pre- 


sent to the Academy an acephalous monster. " Will 
you at the same time present tlie twin first born and 
their common placenta ?" asked Geoffroy. '' Ah !" re- 
plied the astonished physician, " have you then seen 
it ?" " I only know what you have just told me." 

From the observation of the circumstances which 
caused the malformations, Saint Hiliare passes to that 
of monsters themselves, and from the determination of 
the immediate causes to those more remote. There is, 
according to him, in many cases, an adhesion estab- 
lished with the young embryo, between one or several 
of its organs and the membranes of the egg^ or of the 

When a mother in the first period of gestation re- 
ceives a violent shock, either mental or physical, it 
produces a quick and forcible contraction of tlie whole 
muscular system, including the uterus. When the 
foetal membrane receives this shock, it contracts sud- 
denly ; the result is a slight laceration ; two phenom- 
ena then follow, viz., the flowing of a part of the am- 
miotic-water, and the union of the torn ends of the fil- 
ament of the membrane, with the contiguous parts of 
the body of the embryo ; hence are formed fibres of ad- 
hesion, whose presence, sometimes temporarily, some- 
times permanently, disturb more or less seriously the 
development of the embryo ; either because they re- 
tain the organs out of their natural cavities, or that they 
oppose the reunions which would otherwise have ta- 
ken place ; or that they delay, or even prevent the 
formation of the parts which ought ultimately to appear. 

In 1826 a vast incubating establishment having been 
formed at Auteuil, he recommenced his experiments 


on a grand scale, and varied them in a thousand ways. 
They consisted in hatching eggs, placed at iirst in all 
respects under ordinary circumstances. Then at the 
end of a certain lapse of time — three days at most dif- 
ferently modified ; for instance, shaken more or less 
violently, perforated in dift'erent places; but above all, 
maintained in a vertical position, either on the small 
or the large end ; or half of the surface well covered 
with a layer of wax or varnish that would render the 
shell air-tight. 

The results of these experiments entirely fulfilled the 
expectations of the author. Keith er among the 
chickens which were hatched, nor among the foetus 
which died before hatching, were there found any 
double monsters. On the contrary, there were ob- 
tained a number, relatively very considerable, of or- 
ganic deviations ; some constituting simple hemiteries, 
others very complex anomalies, monsters differing in 
nothing from those which Nature presents spontane- 
ously to our observation in animals and in man him- 

These experiments, several times repeated, have al- 
ways had the same results, viz., that embryos which 
placed under ordinary circumstances, would have 
been naturally developed — which even had commenced 
to develope themselves naturally, have become, their 
development being interrupted, anomalous, monstrous 
even. Anomalies, therefore, do not exist previous to 
fecundation ; hut are the results of a disturbance hap- 
pening in the course of the development of eiribryos at 
first perfectly regular. 


The study of raonstrosities, continues Saint Hiliare, 
which, according to the ideas of the ancients, could 
only satisfy a vain curiosity, is now invested with a 
scientific character, and takes its place by the side of 
normal beings. 

The organization of monsters is subject to rules and 
to laws, and those laws are but the general laws of 

I admit no more a special physiology for cases of 
vicious organization than a special philosophy to ac- 
count for some facts isolated, and left without explan- 
ation. There is monstrosity, but not a deviation from 
ordinary laws."^ 

To the question of what is a monster? Science an- 
swered still at the commencement of this century — 
" A freak of Nature ; a being created without any rule, 
and in the absence of any end ;" and philosophers 
thought it possible to add, " It is a specimen of those 
laws of chance which, according to Atheists, must 
have given birth to the Universe ; God has permitted 
them in order to show us what creation is without 

Anatomical philosophy, on the contrary, replies, 
" Monsters are not freaks of ISTature ; their organization 
is subjected to rules rigorously determined, and these 

* I could quote any amount of cases from the works of Saint Hi- 
laire to substantiate the preceding opinion, if the subject were not of 
so painful, and so disagreeable a nature. Those who have any doubts 
as to the correctness of this author's views, can consult his works in 
several quarto volumes, illustrated, in the Astor Library. 

t Expressions of Chateaubriand in his Genius of Christianity. 


are identical with those which govern the normal he- 

A monster is a being in whom are not accomplished 
the transformations which sliould elevate it successively 
to its normal tjpe, — a being which has met with a 
hindrance, or a delay of its development, and has re- 
mained in some respects an embryo, — as if Nature had 
stood still in order to give to our too slow observation 
the time and the means to overtake her. 

Monstrosity is not, therefore, tlie result of a blind 
chance ; but rather the product of a disturbed action 
of the same beneficent laws of Nature which secure 
health and fair proportions when allowed to conclude 
their functions without disturbance. 

The preceding facts and illustrations will account 
equally well for the production of idiocy and imbecil- 
ity, as for malformations. The two former are as cer- 
tainly caused by a disturbed gestation as the latter. 
Hence no mother will hereafter be permitted to say, 
pointing to her idiotic child, '' behold ! the afflicted of 
God,'' for science may ask her the question, " How 
did this thing occur, by what unfortunate accident, or 
didst thou dare to lay impious hands on and mar that 
which God in His wisdom and goodness intended 
should be perfect?" 

Surely, if a knowledge of this subject were to be- 
come more general, idiocy, imbecility, insanity, and 
unbalanced mental organizations would be less com- 
mon. No subject that has hitherto engaged the atten- 
tion of the philanthropist, or the political economist, 
can compare with this, for it is the basis of all human 



It is substantiated beyond a doubt, that attempted 
abortion is a frequent cause of imbecility. It is always 
difficult to prove a fact like this — few mothers will 
willingly make confession of such a crime ; but by 
some specious sophistry, will endeavor to hide it even 
from themselves. I have, however, obtained the tes- 
timony, published and unpublished, of several distin- 
g4iiished names, like those of Dr. Howe, of Boston, and 
J. B. Richards of New York, and others, who have 
given years to the investigation of the various causes 
of idiocy, and they are all unanimous in their testi- 
mony on this point. Several cases are given by Dr. 
Howe, in which young women attempted to conceal 
the unborn proofs of shame ; but failing in this, they 
are married, and the child is idiotic ; though all chil- 
dren born afterwards of the same parents are sound 
and healthy. One woman had seven sound children, 
and another had six born in wedlock ; although the 
oldest child of each of them, upon whom abortion had 
been attempted, was idiotic." 

Other cases are given where mothers have had from 
four to eight healthy children each, and afterwards 


they had from one to four, who were idiotic — made so 
by attempted abortions, because the mothers thought 
they had children enough. Out of four hundred idiots 
examined by a committee in Massachusetts, seven 
were known to have resulted from this cause ; and the 
presumptive evidence of the same cause was very 
strong in many other instances. 

The following fact was given to me by a friend, in 
whose veracity 1 have the most implicit confidence. 

The mother of several fine healthy children, who 
thought that the number was already large enough, at- 
tempted to destroy the embryo life of another expected 
one ; she did not succeed, but the powerful medicine 
which she had taken enfeebled the child both in mind 
and body. He was the last, the weakest and frailest of all 
the family. While the older brothers were sent to 
school, to college, and are becoming men of mark, this 
weak-minded son had to be educated in a private insti- 
tution in the country, to save the family credit — and 
will always be incompetent to take care of himself. 

Behold a cause for a life-long sorrow to this 
wretched mother, when she contemplates the wreck 
of manhood presented by her youngest born, and con- 
trasts his blighted condition with that of her older 
sons, who are in full possession of all the blessings 
that vigorous health, high culture, and success in life 
can bestow. 

How many truly logical theories would seem at a 
first glance to be refuted by an example like this !-^- 
The parents at his birth were in the full vigor of health 
and maturity. According to all physiological and 
psychological laws, it would seem that he should have 


been among the most vigorons of liis family, both in 
mind and body. 

We will suppose an elder sister to be reflecting up- 
on the subject of transmitted tendencies: In this in- 
stance it would seem to her that she herself, the child 
of the immature and early youth of both parents, wa? 
much the superior of the child of their hardy middle 
life. Thus, judging from this deceptive case, she 
might lose faith in all theories upon this most import- 
ant subject. " Do I not see," she would exclaim 
" that it is all a chance — that nothing can be deter 
mined about these matters — that one child is healthy 
and intelligent, and another feeble and stupid, and yet 
we can assign no cause for this ? Why need one be 
haunted with the constant feeling that every wrong or 
mistaken thing that is done may produce evil effects 
upon ftiture children ? The thought is a nightmare, 
and I will throw it off! When I do wrong I will suf- 
fer willingly, but I could not endure the thought that 
poor little children might be life-long sufferers for my 

Thus this poor girl will be less careful of her health 
— her temper — of all her ways, than she otherwise 
might have been. Many a one has been tempted up- 
on the plea of bearing the penalty of his own wrong 
doing, to sacrifice future good to present indulgence. 
Let such feel that they cannot suffer alone — that the 
whole human family are bound together, and that in- 
nocent ones must share with them the consequences 
of evil doing. 

The natural laws appertaining to humanity are sim- 
ple ; but tliey are all interlinked and complicated with 


each other, and although the exact result may not be 
predicated by any finite mind, yet we know that all 
violations of them are visited with their legitimate 
consequences. We must learn to look far and care- 
fully for our data, before we come to conclusions ad- 
verse to the wisdom and goodness of a beneficent 

I know of no better thought to suggest to one that 
is tempted to a like crime with this unfortunate moth- 
er, than that spoken by a friend, to a young wife not 
long since. She found herself enceinte at a time 
which was particularly unsatisfactory to her, as she 
had just planned a journey of some months to be spent 
abroad with her husband. The result was that she 
had to remain at home while her husband went alone. 
" I wish I had taken something at first," said the 
young wife in her loneliness. " I would have done so 
at the time, but my husband would not hear of it." 
" Yes," said the friend, " and when your son has grown 
to manhood, tell him that you wanted to kill him, and 
that you were sorry afterwards you had not done so — 
but his father would not let you !" 

It can only be from a want of reflection on this sub- 
ject that so few persons look upon this fearful crime 
as murder. 

A prominent lawyer in a neighboring State was en- 
gaged in trying a case of great importance. It had 
occupied his time and thoughts for many days and 
nights, and deprived him of his natural rest. To his 
great joy he gained the suit, but found himself at the 
close completely prostrated both in mind and body. 
He felt that he required repose, but necessity com- 


pelled him to return home at once. Exhausted as he 
was, he set out immediately in a lumbering stage- 
coach, traveled night and day without rest, many hun- 
dred miles, over bad and sometimes rough and moun- 
tainous roads, ending his journey with a long ride on 
horseback. He thus traversed nearly the length of 
a large and mountainous State, by these most primitive 
methods, and arrived at home late one evening, after an 
unusually long absence. 

The following is his own testimony in regard to the 
evil consequences which resulted from this infringe- 
ment of the organic laws of his being. " There is not 
a doubt in my mind that our idiot child was conceived 
that night, after my return home in a state of physical 
and mental exhaustion." 

'No other cause could be suggested, either by him- 
self or his wife, for this terrible affliction. Their other 
children were bright and intelligent ; but this one was 
hopelessly idiotic. 

The vitality of the father was exhausted, and he be- 
queathed his own prostrate condition to the new em- 
bryo life. This fact proves much in regard^ to the 
father's influence in planting the new germ of exist- 
ence. It proves, also, that man cannot violate the 
laws of life and health, and yet expect to beget sound 

Here is another case in point. 

A young New England couple began life together 
as industrious and well-to-do farmers. They were 
both robust in health, cheerful in disposition, and re- 
markably well adapted to each other. N'ot being too 
much alike in temperament and organization, they 


were reasonably entitled to expect a fine offspring. 
All the conditions were unusually favorable to this 
end ; their first child fully realized their highest ex- 
pectations, and was from the first unusually bright 
and attractive. 

After the birth of this child, owing to causes not 
necessary to state, the father became suddenly and de- 
plorably intemperate. When a respectable New Eng- 
lander gives up his character and good name to be- 
come a sot, his case is desperate. The higher his 
former estate, the lower he is likely to fall, — goaded on 
as he is, by shame and remorse. 

This man became the lowest of his class, — his prop- 
erty squandered, his family beggared. In this state 
of affairs a second child was born to him, — it was 
idiotic ; its head was small, but well formed. This was 
regarded by those who investigated the case, as a 
marked illustration of arrested development. The 
head was no larger than that of a foetus of a few 

This sad event added to the unhappy state of mind 
of the father, whose habits continued from bad to 
worse. In time they had a third child born, — also an 
idiot ; its head was both small and malformed. The 
father, who was, after all, a man at heart, was present 
at its birth, and when he saw its blighted condition, 
gave way to a paroxysm of anguish and despair, and 
wept aloud. Friends sought to comfort him. " I will 
never be the father of another idiot," he exclaimed, as 
he rushed from the house. After a short time he re- 
turned, and exclaimed, " Wife, give me your hand, I 
have signed the pledge, — I will never take another 


drop of strong drink." He kept his promi?o. Theii 
position as a family from that day was upward, until 
they were again in comfortable and respectable cir- 
cumstances. The fourth child, born during this second 
period of prosperity, was bright and active, although 
not equal in intellect to the first. 

A fact like this should speak for itself. It was re- 
lated to me by one who was himself the teacher of 
these unfortunate children, when they were inmates of 
a private institution for idiots, over which he presi- 
ded.* He has been more than twelve years engaged 
in this work of benevolence, and has spent much time 
in investigating the causes which lead to mental im- 

He believes in this case, that the mother's thoughts 
and sj'^mpathies were following the father ; that they 
were absent from herself and from the child, and thus 
the proper developement of the foetus was impeded ; 
that in the first instance it was arrested a few months 
after conception, and in the second it was abnormal 
from the begining. He studied attentively all the 
symptoms of the children, and compared them with 
the facts of the case, thus carefully arriving at his con- 
clusions. In many instances Mr, Richards has been 
able to ascertain the causes of the imbecility by merely 
watching the peculiarities of the different cases which 
have come under his notice, and in every instance, he 
has found by subsequent inquiry, his inferences were 

Mr. Richards had under his charge at different times, 

" * James B. Richards. 


four idiotic cliildren of a family who resided in one of 
the Southern States. He had frequently endeavored 
by interrogating the parents, to ascertain the cause or 
causes of this unparailelled iiifliction ; but vvitliout sue-. 
cess until he overheard the following conversation be- 
tween his wife and the old colored nurse who accompan- 
ied the fourth child. 

" If Missis please, I's like to speak to her 'bout dis 

"You had better speak to Mr. Richards if anything 
is the matter with him." 

"No, no, de men don't know so much as de women 
'bout children. I's hear de minister and de doctor 
talk 'nougli 'bout dese things to satisfy me on dat sub- 
ject. You see, missis, dis child's got no soul, or if he 
has, 'tis so prisoned up in dis little head it can't get 
out; so I can't 'muse myself wid talking to him like 
any other child ; den I's got noffin' else to think 'bout 
but ponder and wonder why dis child's made so foolish 
and good for nuffin'. 'Spose missis Kichards know so 
much 'bout children, she'll tell me?" 

" That subject has puzzled wiser heads than yours 
or mine, aunty. But if you think women knew more 
than men about it, why did you not ask your mis- 
tress ?" 

"I did. She say just like de minister, 'It please 
de Lord to make 'em so.' " 

" "Were you not satisfied with that answer?" 

" No, mem !" 

"Why not?" 

" Because it did not please de Lord to make de four 


first children of my missis like dis one, so soft and 
limp ; dey's got plenty back-bone, plenty brain." 

" If yon have thought so much about these things, 
tell me now what you think caused the difference be- 
between the first and last four of your mistress' child- 
ren ?" 

" Sometimes I think one thing, sometimes another. 
"When my missis first married she have children all 
regular, one after another all right; den she say she 
hab no more, she w^ant to trabel an' 'joy herself, so she 
hab no more for long time ; den she begin again ; when 
de first foolish child come, I's think 'twas sent to pun- 
ish my mas'r, 'cause he sell my oldest gal down to Or- 
leans, after I's beg an' pray him jest let me keep her 
one year more ; but when he strike me and sell my 
child to de bad white man, I's pray to de Lord to smite 
him with de rod of iron ; to punish him trough his 
children. So when de first idiot child came, I think 
de Lord heard my supplication ; 'cause my mas'r took 
away my child, He give him dis punishment. "Well, 
after while I got over my bad feeling t'wards my mas'r 
and prayed de good Lord to take off de curse, and gib 
de next child his soul ; but 'twas no use, tree more 
come all foolish. So den I first begin to tink what 
for made 'em so." 

"Well, what did you think next was the cause?" 

" Now dat's what I's want to ask Missis Richards 
'bout. 'Spose when my missis no want to have any 
more ; 'spose de Lord to punish her, make 'em like dis 

" jSTo, indeed ! or half of the children born would be 


" Wei], den, 'spose mj missis take soraeting or do 
sometiiig not to have 'em come, 'spose dat would spile 
'em so ?" 

*' What put such a thought in your head, aunty ?" 

" Why I's troubled 'bout dis ting, — I's feared 'twas 
de curse I put on mas'r 'bout my gal. As I's telling 
my Jim how thinking 'bout it, kept me 'wake nights. 
He say you come wid me to de cotton field, I'll show 
you how de Lord 'ranges dese tings. So he tell me to 
look at de rows of hills, some coming up all right, some 
no come up at all. What for, says he, you s'pose da 
no all come up ? Cause I'se cursed 'em ? No such 
ting ; I's planted a hard sun-baked clod of dirt on de 
seed. Cause when de driver say, you Jim, hoe so 
many rows of hills afore supper time ; now if da no all 
come up, den I's no got 'em all to hoe ! So you just 
neber trouble yoursel' 'bout dat curse. De Lord's not 
so unjust as to take away children's souls, cause you 
pray Him to punish dar fader." 

At this point, Mr. Richards thought it prudent to 
interrupt the conversation ; hence the sagacious reader 
is left to draw his own inferences. 

In closing this chapter, which has been made thus 
long by an earnest conviction of the importance of the 
subject, it seems necessary to impress upon woman, as 
primarily the most important agent, in the transmis- 
sion of good or evil qualities, the great responsibilities 
which rest upon her maternal condition. Let every 
mother so educate her daughters for maternity that they 
may escape the dread evils of which this chapter treats, 
■ — let not a false delicacy prevent her from keeping such 
knowledge from them, — let her so enlighten and elevate 


their moral sentiments, that they shall exhibit in the 
beauty of their lives the reflex action of the principles 
she has inculcated. If the mother possesses any desi- 
rable talent, or any beautiful quality of heart, let her so 
exercise that talent, and cultivate that quality that it 
may bloom in greater brilliancy in her children and in 
her children's children. So if there should exist among 
the subtleties of her own character, any dark spot, let 
her exert all her moral strength in order to eradicate it, 
that its shadow may not darken the third generation. 
Let her surround the growing soul with all good influ- 
cies, — let her cultivate all noble impulses, all holy 
aspirations, — let her breathe into the opening flower, 
by the magic power of a mother's love, such know- 
ledge as shall prepare it for the world in all its antag- 
onisms, and all its agreements, — so shall she see in the 
final fruit an ample reward for all her care, her self- 
denial, and her self abnegation. Finally, let all tliose, 
to whom these suggestions may come, lay them closely 
to their hearts, and seek to embody in their lives the 
principles they present, — founded as they are upon 
laws as fixed and immutable as the power of the Al- 
mighty, and as beneficial as His mercy. By these 
means countless souls will have been made sinless, and 
the trust which God hath placed in our hands, and the 
inheritance which has come to us from the past, will 
be bequeathed to the future, with added purity, and 
with brighter lustre. 



A EEMAEKABLE casG of malformation caused by the 
imagination of the mother, was related to me by a 
member of the family in which it occurred. 

A young lady whose mental accomplishments, per- 
sonal graces, wealth, and social position commanded 
the attention of the noblest of the other sex, became 
attached to a young gentleman every way her equal, 
and was engaged to be married. Owing to an acci- 
dent which occurred in his childhood, her betrothed 
was lame. One day a married sister, in a riioment of 
levity mimicked him, limping up and down the room. 
" See, this is the way you will have to go through life 
with your husband, dot and carry one !" cried she gaily. 

The young girl grieved and distressed by this un- 
feeling ridicule, burst into tears, bravely affirming that 
the lameness of her intended only made him more dear 
to her ; it was not a moral defect that it should be 
visited with obloquy ; but it merited instead, the 
most cordial sympathy and respect. The other, re- 
morseful, and softened by her distress, earnestly be- 
sought forgiveness. Thus an agitating scene trans- 
pired which resulted most unfortunately for the married 


sister, who was within a few months of her confine- 
ment, — at birtli, one limb of the child was soft and 
flexible apparently wanting in the bony formation ; 
but the attending physician thought this of little con- 
sequence, — bone would soon form and no evil result 
would follow. The proper ossification did ensue, but 
so tardily that, from neglect or inattention, the limb 
became crooked and shorter than the other. Hence 
another cripple for life — another victim of maternal 
indiscretion, — or rather ignorance of the laws and 
the duties of parent-hood. 

There are many facts in Nature which it is impossi- 
ble to gainsay, yet we cannot tell why they are thus, 
nor yet how they are produced. The law of all things 
is, indeed, Nature's universal mystery. How, in the 
dark recesses of the earth, is the diamond formed — 
whence its bright scintillations? What gives to the 
crystal its geometrical lines — its positive and negative 
poles ?^ How does the grass grow ? How does each 
seed produce its own plant, flower, and fruit, each af- 
ter its kind ? How does the human spirit modify its 
physical frame ; and how is it modified in turn by the 
peculiarities of its organism? When we can answer 
these and myriads of other unsolved problems, then 
we may resolve the mystery of the mother's mental 
impressions as afi'ecting the welfare of her unborn 
child. Meantime, if we are to place any reliance up- 
on human testimony, or upon our own observation, w 
must credit facts like the above. Notwithstanding the 
doctors often ignore such cases, dozens of them may 

* Rachenbacli's Dynamics of Magnetism. 


be heard of in any gathering of matrons, whether in a 
tenement-house parlor, or at a fashionable watering- 
place, whenever the subject chances to come up for 

Fact before theory is a rule of the majority. Yet 
the mere gathering of facts would be an unprofitable 
occupation, if we could not also trace from them the 
laws or principles by which they were produced ; and 
thereby multiply them if desirable, or avoid them if 

The scientific have been known to torture fact to 
make it harmonize with theory. " I have heard," says 
Fondillac, " of a philosopher who had had the happi- 
ness of thinking that he had discovered a principle 
which was to explain all the wonderful j^henomena of 
chemistry, and who, in the ai-dor of his self gratulation, 
hastened to communicate his discovery to a skillful 
chemist. The chemist had the kindness to listen to 
him, and then calmly told him that there was but one 
unfortunate circumstance for his discovery, that the 
chemical facts were precisely the converse of what he 
supposed them to be. " Well, then," said the philoso- 
pher, " have the goodness to tell me what they are, 
that I may explain them on my system."* 

A case of a similar nature to the preceding was re- 
lated to me by the wife of a Presbyterian minister 
from one of the Eastern States. Her youngest sister, 
a gentle, tender-hearted girl, soon after her marriage 
accompanied her husband to New Orleans, where he 
was engaged in business. They resided in the imme- 

• Discourses of Sir William Hamilton, p. 50. 


diate neigliborliood of a French Creole woman who 
was in the habit of whipping her female slaves almost 
daily. At such times the poor creatm-es would beg 
most piteouslj for mercy, and fill the air with their 
painful cries. The sympathy of the tenderly-reared 
New England girl was so agonized by this barbarous 
cruelty, that she used frequently to stop her ears with 
her fingers, in order to shut out the screams. Her 
first child, born under such influences, was so bright 
and sensitive that she was nearly two years of age be- 
fore her parents discovered that she was entirely deaf. 
The poor stricken mother went almost frantic with 
grief when the afiliction of her child was forced upon 
her conviction. She at once recognized the cause ; 
and attributed it to the sufi'ering she endured while en- 
deavoring to close her ears against the cries of the 
poor slave women. 

Such facts show how extremely susceptible some 
women are during the period of gestation ; and also 
how important it is to guard them from all painful 
emotions or unpleasant influences at that particular 

In a small company of matrons, on one occasion, 
this subject came under discussion. Several very re- 
markable cases of moral obliquity were narrated, with 
the causes which produced them ; many, also, similar 
to the preceding, — and some malformations not unlike 
those found in the works of Geoffrey Saint Hilaire. 
An elderly lady present said she knew a perfect safe- 
guard against sudden frights, or any untoward events 
at that critical period, — which was, first, to think of 
your situation — that effort persisted in would repel all 


evil influences — second, endeavor to divert your mind, 
or change your thoughts, by an agreeable book, active 
occupation, or cheerful company. 

Many of the laws of human nature, not put down in 
the books, were discussed on that occasion, from the 
woman's stand-point, from which, owing to the na- 
ture of the subject, the view should be more clear and 
comprehensive than any other. This little band of 
earnest mothers, keenly observant, eager for knowl- 
edge, ready to sacrifice every selfish desire, or present 
enjoyment, in order to insure the future well-being of 
their children, were only a type of their sex. Perhaps 
the millennium will be near at hand when fathers begin 
to be as ambitious of leaving worthy descendants be- 
hind them when they die, as large estates. 



I MIGHT adduce fact after fact to show that the child 
of parents over-wrought must inherit an enfeebled con- 
stitution.* This violation of one of the organic laws 
of life is frequently followed by a transmitted tendency 
to some of the protean forms of scrofula ; or if actual 
disease is not present, the organs are so frail and 
inactive as to be unable to resist the ordinary diseases 
of childhood, and thus the poor victim becomes a life- 
long sufferer, or is hurried to an early grave. 

During the first part of this century scrofula was 
much more common than at a later period. It was 
usually called the king's evil, and considered incura- 
ble. So recently as 1840 a work on this disease was 
published by a French physician, in which it was 
stated that tuberculous scrofula was congenital, and 
alwa^^s inherited; and if it appeared in one child of 
a family, it was certain to be latent, and would 
sooner or later develope itself in the systems of all the 
others. If it did not attack the glands of the neck or 
face in the ordinary way, it was sure to manifest itself 
by tubercles in the lungs or some other organs, or by 

* See Appendix B. 


tumors in the abdominal viscera, either of which must 
ultimately prove fatal. 

Impressed with the apparent truth and importance 
of the knowledge contained in this book, I spoke of it 
to a friend who had a daughter afflicted with this dire 
disease, in order to caution her in regard to her other 
children. She assured me that she was under no ap- 
prehension on account of her younger children, for 
scrofula was not hereditary in either her husband's or her 
own family ; and that she did not look upon the afflic- 
tion of her eldest daughter as a disease, but rather an 
indication of a weak and inactive organization. She 
said, also, that the life of suffering and prospective 
early death of this ill-fated child overshadowed her 
conscience with a dark cloud, from which there was no 
escape. True, she had sinned ignorantly, but that re- 
flection could not palliate the anguish of mind she ex- 
perienced when she contrasted the blighted condition 
of this patient angelic child, with that of her younger 
sisters, who, blessed with health and fair symmetrical 
forms, enjoyed life and youth with the keenest zest. 

" My husband," she continued, " soon after our mar- 
riao-e, havins: become dissatisfied with the vicissitudes 
of a mercantile life, exchanged some property in the 
metropolis for a place in the country ; where he hoped 
to enjoy a tranquil life, to indulge his literary tastes, 
and his love for rural pursuits. Our home was situ- 
ated on one of the most picturesque branches of the no- 
ble Hudson ; was susceptible of much improvement, 
both in regard to its natural beauties, and its remuner- 
ating resources. My husband being some twenty 
years my senior, and fond of sedentary habits, allowed 


me to take the management of affairs, both in-doors 
and out. So, being ambitious and energetic, and pos- 
sessing a passionate love for beautiful trees, I planned 
many improvements, but in endeavoring to carry them 
out, I overtaxed my strength, and my children suffered 
the penalty. My first, a son, was prematurely born, 
at seven months, with only vitality enough to survive a 
few hours. That the loss of this child was caused by 
over-exertion on my part, I was well aware ; yet this 
state of afi'airs seemed to be the fatal necessity of my 
position. Subjected to raids of visitors from the neigh- 
boring city at all seasons, with insufficient domestic 
help, each day and hour bringing its imperative labor, 
not to be evaded by an orderly housekeeper, I thought 
I could only submit for the present, and hope for more 
harmonious arrangements in the future. So things 
went on in the usual way another year, when I again 
became a mother. This event occurred at a time when 
improvements were being made on the place, which 
required many hands, who had to be provided for in 
the family. Domestic service not to be had at all 
times in the country, I was again at a critical period, 
subjected to exhausting fatigue. My second child was 
born at the full time, but in what the doctor called a 
heat, which so enfeebled her constitution that she did 
not walk alone until two years of age ; I used to watch 
over her with fear and trembling — on so frail a tenure 
seemed to hang her existence. Notwithstanding the 
jDopular belief at that time — that if a child be born 
feeble or imperfect, it was the will of God — the con- 
viction was impressed upon my mind that I was cul- 
pable, that I was the cause of this prostrated condition 


of my darling child. I tlien formed a resolution to 
persistently put from me the necessity which could 
work such cruel results to my children. How well I 
kept that resolve, the healthy constitutions and the 
beautifully developed forms of my youngest daughters 
will bear witness." 

Consumption, also, when not hereditary, may fre- 
quently be traced to the same cause as that of the pre- 
ceding fact. I know a healthy, but hard-working 
farmer and his wife, who, without any predisposition 
to lung complaints themselves, have lost seven of their 
ten children by consumption ; while two of the survi- 
vors are in advanced stages of sure decline. This 
mother never rested. She worked up to the last mo- 
ment before confinement ; yet for more than twenty 
years of her life there never was three months at a time 
in which she was not either enceinte or nursing an in- 
fant. Their eldest child, a daughter, is still a healthy, 
robust woman, with a large and well-developed physi- 
cal system. Such facts speak volumes. The only way 
of accounting for them is by supposing that the ener- 
gies of both parents in this case were exhausted by ex- 
cessive labor, — but that the eldest child, born while 
their constitutions were still young and vigorous, — 
escaped the family curse. 

Excessive mental activity is often equally fatal in its 
effects upon offspring. Indeed, wdien carried to an 
extreme, it is even more disastrous ; and has been 
known to result in hopeless idiocy. Here is a case in 

A young lady w^ho had exhausted her strength by 
etudy, teaching and various literary pursuits, ^while in 


a state of debility was married to a clergyman of con- 
genial tastes and similar condition. This event be- 
came a new mental stimulant. They read and wrote 
together continually ; so fascinated by the pleasures of 
this delightful intellectual companionship as seemingly 
to have risen above all weakness of the flesh. But 
[Nature never allows herself to be overreached. If her 
laws are outraged, she is constrained to enforce her 
penalties, — their first child, born within a year of their 
marriage, was an idiot. The stricken parents, awa- 
kened to a sense of their responsibility by this sad 
event, began diligently to study and to obey tlie laws 
of both mind and body ; and now arrived at middle 
life, they have a fine family of promising young chil- 

Women are generally more inclined to mental indo- 
lence than to intellectual activity. This is owing, 
probably, to the inferior mental discipline which is 
exacted from them in the course of their education. 
Yet examples are not wanting in which the irre- 
pressible activity of the mother's mind during the 
period of gestation has produced precocious chil- 
dren ; to whom this undue use of the mental facul- 
ties, if accompanied by a neglect of the laws of 
health, is highly detrimental. Although such chil- 
dren may have inherited a fine nervous tempera 
ment, and a large development of brain, unless sus 
tained by a good physique, they are almost surely 
destined to an early grave ; or if they live, their 
brilliant powers appear to burn themselves out, and 
they grow up common place persons. They had in- 
herited no unnatural powers, it was only the pre- 


mature development of an ordinary mind, and like 
the hot-house flowers, brought forward by artificial 
methods, they were the first to fade. 

Cause and effect is l^ature's universal law. All 
defective organism is traceable to causes ; and is fre- 
quently the penalty paid by parents for laws which 
they have broken, and visited on the children, even 
to the third and the fourth generation. Thus does 
the Creator teach us, that the most valuable inher- 
itance we can transmit to ofl'spring, is a sound con- 
stitution, — the reward of a virtuous life: and also, 
that we are social beings, and that no man can live 
to himself only. 



A LAEGE portion of the time and efforts of the antlior 
in the present volume has been devoted to showing 
how the habits of the parents, whether good or bad, 
fasten their consequences upon the children. Naj, 
more than this, that each progenitor seems, as it were, 
to vaccinate his yet unborn descendants with the virus 
of his own nature ; so that the child must take his 
tastes, tendencies and propensities, with more or less 
intensity according to circumstances, by natural indoc- 
trination. If this be so, it is doubly important that 
there should be " mens sana in corpore sano," not 
only for the individual but for the race.* 

It is becoming an accepted tenet of latter-day faith 
that all suffering is abnormal, — that it always involves 

* The principal occupation of one of the large sea-port towns of New 
England was formerly fitting out whale-sliips for the Pacific. The 
young men belonging to these vessels, after an absence of two or three 
years, returned home with constitutions impaired by exposure and 
salt provisions at sea. but still more by improper and injurious con- 
nections on shore. In consequence of these infringements of the laws 
of life and health, their descendants to the third and fourth genera- 
tions of the present day, are suffering the penalty through diseases 
arising from inherited weaknesses and impurities. 


guilt, either on the part of the sufferer, or of some an- 
cestor, who has, by disregarding the laws of life and 
health, drawn down evil upon the head of the inno- 
cent. Many, indeed, sin through ignorance on this 
subject. It is, however, beginning to be understood 
that mankind are, in part at least, responsible for their 
ignorance, and that Nature and her Author do not for- 
give the unwitting offendor by preventing the painful 
consequences of his acts. That this is a part of the 
unchanging economy of Providence may be inferred 
from the evidences of Divine wisdom by which we 
are everywhere surrounded. 

"Weakness and feebleness, of whatever character, 
are therefore reprehensible, and should be combatted 
and overcome by persistent and vigorous efforts. We 
should teach every one that weakness is a disgrace, 
whether it be of mind or of body ; that it reflects upon 
the parents, upon society, and upon the individual. 
Thus will they be made to feel their own responsibility, 
and to learn by what tenure life and health can be 

While business and professional men like galley- 
slaves are chained to counting-rooms and offices, and 
their wives like Circassian slaves, are shut up in their 
houses in Egyptian darkness all summer and worse 
than Egyptian heat all winter, to make them look 
delicately beautiful, we must expect fearful bills of 
infant mortality, and frightful evidences of early de- 
cline. The public thought is broader on this subject 
now than formerly ; yet so perverted are the tastes of 
some persons that delicacy of constitution is consid- 
ered a badge of aristocracy, and the daughters would 


feel themselves depreciated by too robust health ; the 
mothers, also, would look upon the sturdy frame and 
the ruddy cheek as tok-ens of vulgarity. 

The corset is much less obsolete to-day than the 
rack or the thumbscrew — yet these latter instruments 
of torture are by far the most humane ; they may 
maim or kill the victim outright, but are restricted in 
their effect mainly to one sufferer. While the corset 
is the vise in which you mold the form of the mother, 
you thus literally cramp the body and soul of her fu- 
ture offspring. 

I have known young girls persistently, month after 
month, to feed themselves with some vile substance 
never fit to eat, for the sole purpose of drying up the 
healthy blood, and making themselves look pale and 
delicate. If they knew that the bane would mingle in 
the systems of their future children, blighting their 
poor little lives with disease and suffering, they would 
stop aghast. Rath-^r let delicacy of constitution be- 
come a brand as disgraceful as that which was stamped 
upon the brow of the first murderer: he slew his 
brother in a moment of wrathful envy, but the weak- 
ling leaves to her descendants the dark prospect of a 
few years of suffering and an early death ; which no 
prudence or wisdom on their part can avert ; they are 
doomed from the beginning by the faults, if not the 
crimes, of one who should have left them only bless- 
ings. When the poor, ignorant Irish girl takes the 
life of her new-born babe, to conceal her own shame, 
the stern law punishes her, sometimes, wdth death — 
but is the crime a greater one than that of the 
woman who recklessly destroys her own health, 


regardless of tlie rights of those who will become 
bone of her bone, and flesh of her flesh ? Let ns 
elevate the standard of parental morality until 
people realize how high and noble it is. 



" How shall a man escape from his ancestors," says 
Emerson, " or draw off from his veins the black drop 
which he drew from his father's or mother's life ? It 
often appears in a family as if all the qualities of the 
progenitors were potted in several jars, some ruling, 
quality in each son or daughter of the house, and some- 
times the unmixed temperament, the rank unmitigated 
elixir, the family vice is drawn off in a separate indi- 
vidual, and the others are proportionally relieved. — 
Men are what their mothers made them. You may 
as well ask a loom which weaves huckaback, why it 
does not make cashmere, as expect poetry from*, this 
engineer, or a chemical discovery from that jobber. 
Ask the digger in the ditch to explain ISTewton's laws : 
the fine organs of his brain have been pinched by over- 
work and squalid poverty from father to son for an 
hundred years. When each comes forth from his 
mother's womb, the gate of gifts closes behind him. 
Let him value his hands and feet, he has but one pair. 
So he has but one future, and that already predeter- 
mined in his lobes, and described in that little fatty 
face, pig-eyedj and squat form. All the privilege and 


all the legislation of the world cannot meddle or help 
to make a poet or a prince of him." 

Look at the stupidity of the great body of the lower 
classes ; of those who seem never able to direct their 
own industry, but are always day laborers and servants 
to others, the hands to the heads ; and ask yourself how 
much of this low grade of faculties has been inherited ? 
We often find like ancestors and like children genera- 
tion after generation. There are many children of 
this class who do not rank as imbecile, yet they are 
never capable of rising above the level in wdiich they 
were born ; and if they were ever brought into mental 
competition with others, they would rank as simple- 
tons. It is often found that with many idiotic children 
one or both parents belong to this weak-minded class. 
I know an Irish family where the three dau2;hter3 
are so incapable of improvement that they could not 
learn to become efficient workers at the most common 
domestic drudgery ; with imperturbable good nature, 
and the best endeavors ceaslessly repeated, they are 
destined to be bunglers to the end. One of these who 
lived in the family of a friend, could never be taught 
to do plain sewing tolerably well ; and although she 
was exceedingly desirous of learning to write, she could 
not master the accomplishment. She had been taught 
reading in childhood, yet could not go further than her 
prayer-book and the children's nursery-tales ; all long 
words she had to spell out or stumble over ; yet no one 
dreams that this girl is idiotic. She ranks every way 
as respectable as other girls in her station, and her 
mental defects pass unnoticed. But there is a brother 


in the family who is an acknowledged imbecile ; yet 
he is only a grade lower in intellect than the sisters. 

The mother of these children seems more simple than 
her daughters ; but is a kindly well-disposed old per- 
son, liked and befriended by alL Of the father, who is 
deceased, I could learn nothing except that neither he 
nor his father could read or write. Should we look to 
some remarkable cause for the idiocy of the unfortun- 
ate son ? It is not necessary ; he has only inherited a 
little less sense than his sisters. Weak-mindedness is 
as much a family trait, as is the slight deafness with 
which they are nearly all afflicted. 

It is said that there are, according to the last census, 
a less number of idiotic and insane persons amongst 
the slaves of the South than among any other class in 
this country. Yery possibly this is true. A degree 
of sense which would answer for the horse, or the dog, 
would do for the slave ; and if he possessed this, he is 
not likely to be ranked as idiotic. Where a whole 
class is ranked legally with the brutes, the deficiencies 
of the individual will easily escape detection ; but if 
he is hopelessly, physically, weak from birth, he is 
then unlikely to be nurtured into a long life of help- 

In the commonwealth of Massachusetts, on the con- 
trary, where there is supposed to be as much of cul- 
ture, of humanity, and of steady habits, as any where 
in this country, one in every 321 of the entire popula- 
tion is reported to be either insane, idiotic, deaf and 
dumb, or blind. When we rememjjer that this does 
not include the large class who are otherwise de- 
fective in body and mind, the statement is truly 


alarming. Are tliere, then, so many broken constitu- 
tions who have transmitted feeble and defective organ- 
izations ? Or do they proceed from intemperance in 
the use of stimulants, narcotics, &c. ? Or are we to 
look for the causes of those deplorable effects from an 
overtasked mentality of the father ; or from untoward 
circumstances acting on the imagination, and the finely 
susceptible organism of the mother? Popular preju- 
dice may still ignore the latter cause ; but the student 
of Geoffroy Saint Hilaire will give it due weight and 

A large proportion of the idiotic are descended from 
vicious and degraded progenitors ;* but there is a 
frightful number from the respectable and wealthy 
classes. In 1856 I was informed by the principal of a 
school for imbeciles that more than half the children 
under his charge were the children of bankers — the 

* In the supplement to a report made to tlie Massacliusetts Senate 
will be found the following : — 

" Out of four hundred and twenty cases of congenital idiocy exam- 
ined, some information was obtained respecting the condition of the 
progenitors of three hundred and forty-nine. Now in all these three 
hundred and forty-nine cases, save only four, it was found that one or the 
other, or both of the progenitors of the unfortunate sufferers had, in 
some way, widely departed from the conditions of health, and violated 
the natural laws. That is to say, one or the other, or both of them, 
were very unhealthy or scrofulous ; or they were hereditarily predis- 
posed to affections of the brain, causing temporary insanity ; or they 
had intermarried with blood relations ; or they had been intemperate ; 
or had been guilty of sensual excesses, and impaired their constitution. 
Now it is reasonable to suppose that if more accurate information 
could have been obtained about the history of the other four cases, 
some adequate cause would have been found in them also, for the mis- 
fortune of the child in the condition of the progenitors." 


fathers were bankers themselves, or thev held some 
responsible position in a bank. Three of them came 
from Philadelphia, and were the offspring of the offi- 
cers of two banks. " In a large iire insurance com- 
pany in I:^ew York," he continued, " where there are 
twenty directors, five of their children are idiotic, and 
some of the richest and most active business men in 
the city have imbecile children. I could mention a 
score or more of hopeless idiots whose fathers were 
either ministers, lawyers, or literary men of note." 

" How do you account for such unfortunate results ?" 
I asked. 

" I think," he answered, " that the fathers were ex- 
hausted, both mentally and physically, not only at the 
time of conception, but that this had become their 
customary condition, and that their state acted mes- 
merically upon the mother, who, with probably an 
unvjelGome maternity in prospect, needed consolation, 
support and sympathy. She found her husband ab- 
sorbed in banking, lawsuits, theology, letters — her 
spirits and her health failed, and the child was the vic- 
tim. But," he continued, "are you aware how large 
a proportion of the wives of men thus absorbed in bus- 
iness or in a profession are themselves doomed to an 
early grave ? The proportion is very great. The 
poor young wife is too much alone ; her heart needs 
sympathy, but her husband belongs to the public or to 
the ledger — so she languishes and dies. Her children 
suffer probably quite as much through her as from the 
father. They are weakened by the weakness which is 
prostrating her." 

This statement appeared very startling; but I have 


since found it verified. How many men there are, 
ranking high as statesmen — as men of influential posi- 
tions and responsible professions, who have buried one^ 
two, three, and even four wives. The proportion is 
vastly greater among this class than with farmers, 
mechanics, or day-laborers. Why is this ? These 
men are not blue-beards ; they are generally tender 
and affectionate husbands — at least, when they have 
time to be such — and their wives are proud of them, 
and of their reputation. But they always come home 
fatigued and exhausted ; they bring no freshness or 
buoyancy of spirit to their families. Every day they 
overtax their mental energies, and every night they 
come like vampires to feed upon the innocent lives of 
their unconscious victims. Do the sons of great men 
Seldom become distinguished ? How should they, 
when their fathers thus live upon their vitality from 
the beginning ? 

It is ortliodox to tell the wife and children to put on 
the brightest smiles to welcome home their father. He 
throws himself upon the sofa, weary, jaded and dispir- 
ited. The little ones come to caress him, to soothe 
him, and to give him back their fresh young life. The 
wife, also, comes and pours into his bosom all the 
strength which she has been hoarding up for the da}''. 
He rises refreshed — a new man ; and in this way he 
recuperates his energies, day after day, and year after 
year. Is a child sick and fretful ? — it must be kept in 
the nursery. Is the wife feeble and ailing ? — she may 
fade so gradually that he scarcely perceives it. He 
mourns her death — but the next year there is another 
fresh young being at his hearthstone, again renewing 


his strength ; so he mounts np as on eagles' wings, 
but his family are all tending downwards. 

Who can donht the subtle influence of one human 
being over another ? It is apparent in all our social 
intercourse. No overwrought man can come into a 
company of healthy, vigorous, cheerful persons, with- 
out at once feeling stronger. They may not feel the 
virtue passing out of them, as Jesus did ; nevertheless 
it does pass from one to the other— ^?'09n the jpositive 
to the negative. Nature is always struggling to equal- 
ize her forces. 



Woman, m Christian countries is no longer regard 
ed as a merely physical being ; that is still her rank 
in the Eastern harem. There she is to be well fed, 
beautifully dressed, kept plump and fair by a calm and 
indolent life. Here we have a higlier ideal. Her graces 
must be mental, — spiritualized, etehreal fascination, 
full of life and charming vivacity. She is no longer a 
beautiful model of passive flesh and blood ; but an 
ever varying spirit ; bewildering you with her 
changing "moods and tenses." 

This popular idea certainly indicates great progress 
in civilization. But when will woman be regarded as 
a downright human being, who ought to be educated 
to bear a reasonable share of human responsibilities, 
in order to be able to sustain herself with dignity, amid 
the conflicts, trials and vicissitudes of life ? 

" Variable as the shade 
•' By the light quivering aspen made,- 
* * * ^ * m ^ 

"She sitteth 'ranging golden hair, 
" Pleased to find herself so fair" 


She should not be held responsible for the absence of 
higher aspirations, for slie is the creation of the spirit of 
the age. The infant school of life for the girl and the boy 
are as unlike as the institutions for the instruction of 
the soldier and the doctor ; where the former is taught 
the art of killing, and the latter the art of healing. 
These domestic schools are to manufacture two classes 
of beings, — the pretty, yielding, tractable, inefficient 
subject, and the robust, self-reliant, domineering, ener- 
getic master. 

The little girl is shut up in the nursery with her 
baby -house and her dolls ; the only air or exercise she 
gets is a formal promenade with Bridget and the baby. 
Occasionally, however, she is dressed in the last Paris 
costume, and placed in the drawing-room on reception 
days, to assist in entertaining the company. 

" Don't romp, and disarrange it's beautiful dress,'' says 
mama, " that's a darling ! Come and sit on the sofa 
and let the ladies see how quiet you can be. No ! you 
cannot run in the garden ; 3'ou'll tumble your curls, and 
get as brown as a boy." 

Johnny is put astride his father's cane, — with whip 
in hand, he gallops about in the sunshine and air; red 
as a rose, active, gay, and graceful as an anteh^pe, he 
comes cantering into the room to the annojance of 
every one, especially of his little sister, whose fine 
dress suffers from the exuberance of spirits and rough 

"What a difference there is between girls and 
boys!" says the mother, triumphantly. "I am glad 
Johnny is so much of a bo}^; but it is a sad trial to 
my poor nerves." 


The energies of the little daugliter are all benumbed 
and repressed. As a child, she is a martyr to clean 
clothes and a fair complexion ; as a young lady, she is 
sacrificed to tightly-fitting waists and long skirts. At 
sixteen the physician orders exercise in the open air. 
Siie is sent out riding or walking under the especial 
charge of her brother, who, although he should carry 
her parasol, and select the best places, cannot save her 
from damp and draggled garments while walking, nor 
from a depressing sense of fatigue after riding. Con- 
sequently, after a defective early training, she is little 
benefitted by this boasted exercise ; whilst the stout 
brother, nearly six feet high, feels proud of his strength 
and manhood, is tenderly patronizing towards the fra- 
gile, helpless creature by his side, and talks very fetil- 
inglj about the God-ordained protection and guidance 
that man should bestow upon poor, feeble, dependent 
womanhood ! 

At eighteen the girl is married ; whilst her brother 
is only a freshman in college. Ten years now, in her 
nursery, — ten years in his student life. She is a gen- 
tle, patient woman; more lovely than ever in her 
wifely trust and dependence, — more touchingl)'- self- 
forgetful in her remembrance of the four or five little 
ones! He is just settled in his profession, a young 
man of fine promise, all of life before him, manly, self- 
confident, and sure to win his way to fame and for- 

Are they equals ? Oh, no ! She is weak, — he is 
strong, — she is ignorant, he is wise, — she is depen- 
dent, he is independent, — she has no resources within 
herself, no power of self assertion, no self-reliance, no 


originality, no inventive genins, no power of generali- 
zation or classification, and no heroism except that of 
passive submission. He has all these qualities, and 
feels quite competent to make his own circumstances, 
and to conquer a high position for himself in the bat- 
tle of life. In short, she is the meek and grateful sub- 
ject, he, the ruler and law-giver. 

Society has been bending these two twigs for nearly 
thirty years ! Do you wonder, then, to see the two 
full-grown trees so diversely and unalterably inclined ? 

Give the girl a practical education, a profession, as 
you do her brother ; let her master it before her mar- 
riage ; teach her to feel, meantime, that maternity is 
not to be the whole of her life, that she is not physi- 
cally and mentally fitted for its sacred duties before 
she is twenty-live or thirty years of age ; and that at 
forty-tive she ought to be in the prime of active and 
efficient mental life. Then she will no longer remain 
a spiritless being, without aspirations, and without the 
power of high intellectual attainments. 

Make intellectual success in life as honorable for 
woman as for man, as much demanded by the usages 
of society, as much a laudable ambition, and it will be 
found as compatible with her relations as with his.* 

* •* Those who contest against giving women the same education as 
men, do it on the ground that it would make the women unfeminine, 
as if Nature had done her work so slightly that it could be so easily 
unravelled and knit over. In fact, there is a masculine and feminina 
element in all knowledge, and a man and a woman put to the same 
study extract only what their nature fits them to see, so that knowl- 
edge can be fully orbed only when the two unite in the search and 
Bhare the spoils." Stowe. 


Like man, slie will find time for marriage, for the ho- 
liest parental duties, for great purposes, and for steady 
continuous pursuits. 

Public opinion, jealous of the interests of hushnnd 
and child, has decreed that no woman shall persistently 
follow any profession, or occupation, without losing- 
caste. It has decided that all mental application is in- 
compatible with her home relations, it makes it un- 
womanly to lead an intellectual life, it trammels her 
conscience, it appeals to her disinterestedness, it takes 
into bondage, all her highest and most loving traits of 
heart and head in order to render her cheerfully sub- 
missive to what it calls her "woman's destiny." 

Public opinion, however, is sometimes very short- 
sighted. The interests of husband, wife, child, and so- 
ciety are all in harmony. As the mothers are, so will 
the children be, invalid or robust, imbecile or intel- 
lectual, we must make our election, not for the women 
of the race, but for all that are born of women !* 

Hence the injustice of taunting woman, for her en- 
forced mental inferiority must be apparent to the most 
superficial causist. 

"Have you women ever produced a Milton or a 
Shakespeare ?'' asks the thoughtless cynic. 

" We have not," answers the derided, " but you men 
have only produced one Milton and one Shakespeare 
more than we have, in all these ages, and with all 
your superior advantages ! What can you expect of 

The only wonder is, that so great a number of wo- 

* See Appendix C. 


men of distinguished abilities should have arisen. We 
can point even now to names which will rank with the 
highest in literature, in art, and in science. But wo- 
men are only jnst beginning to feel that they may be- 
come successful competitors of men ; and men are 
slowly learning to think this may be inevitable, and 
not objectionable. 

Let this generation pass away, and there are many 
of its daughters who will have written their names high 
in the book of achievement ! 

" Stand on the sea-shore/' says Emerson, " and ob- 
serve the rising tide ; one white-crested billow rolls in 
after another, each advancing beyond its predecessor; 
presently one mountain wave overtops all the rest, and 
leaves its marks high up on the beach : — look a little 
longer, behold, the whole ocean has risen to the same 

So it is with the tides of human progress. The ad- 
vancing waves in literature were the Martineaus, the 
Brownings, the Brontes, and the Beechers; in art, the 
Hosmers, and the Bonheurs ; in science, the Somer- 
villes and the Mitchels ; then came the great mountain 
wave of humanity, Florence JSTightingale, — and the 
whole troubled sea of womanhood is eagerly pressing 
up towards their level I 



"Theee must be a book for women, wiitten bj a 
woman," sajs Michelet. We are made sensible of the 
truth of this remark, by reading his works on "Love," 
and on " Woman." These pictures of home affections, 
and their various relations, are often full of poetry, pa- 
thos, and charming sentiment. The two books are 
one ; they are a series of simple touching idyls of the 

We give all honor to the man, who, in the lieart of 
France, with its lost faith in the sacredness of the 
marriage institution, has tried to write purely and 
beautifully of love and womanhood ! 

M. Michelet finds society overwhelmed by its mar- 
riao-es of convenience on the one hand, and on the 
other, crushed to a deeper degradation by a repudi- 
ation of marriage altogether. Under these circum- 
stances he invites the man, — the savan of thirty, sati- 
ated with the world, to seek a new happiness in wed- 
lock. He is to find an innocent child of sixteen, to 
transplant her to a rural paradise, shut her away from 
ail other infiuences, and by devoted love on his part, 
to make her satisfied to live absorbed in himself. She 



is to adopt his views, to be moulded, transformed and 
ennobled by liis influence. 

This is his ideal marriage. It is charming, certainly; 
but what is it ? It is only a good deal higher, and a 
little more desirable than the old one ; but it has no 
basis of permanency. The author himself feels this, 
and expects all the various casualties which are almost 
certain to occur. 

The woman never rises to a condition of self-reli- 
ance, never to a dignified self-respect, or to any worthy 
individuality. How could she? She has not been 
educated for this ! Her husband never truly esteems 
her, trusts her, or regards her in any sense as an equal. 
He merely attempts to adore her; to reverence and 
deify her ; but with rather doubtful success. 

Is this the higliest thought on marriage, that closest 
and most durable of earthly ties ? It may do for effete 
and artificial France, — possibly for a large portion of 
Southern Europe ; but any coinmunity educated ever 
so slightly to the idea of self-government, to personal 
activity, and responsibility, must repudiate this union, 
as shallow, though portrayed with all the fascination 
of the most popular French philosopher. 

First, woman is not created an invalid. M. Michelet 
is a profound student of nature and of French life; 
but his first predicate, that woman is, by the peculi- 
arity of her constitution an invalid, is a serious error; 
for it arraigns the justice and goodness of a wise and 
beneficent Creator. Health must be the normal con- 
dition of the whole race. Wherever there is physical 
suffering, it has been caused by the transgression of the 
physical laws. So if women suffer more than men, it 


must be that they have sinned more against the con- 
ditions of health. Let us bring the sturdiest young 
forest trees into our houses, and plant them in the arti- 
ficial heat and the unnatural shade which we procure 
for our wives and daughters, and we shall see them too 
wither, grow up slenderly and become beautifully fra- 
gile. It is easy to become an invalid, if one will but 
take the right means; even M. Michelet is aware of 
this, for he speaks of some women " who have made 
men of themselves" and are healthy. His servant girl 
from the country, fresh and strong, is, on the whole, a 
much better type of womanhood than her mistress. 
True, she is rude and uneducated, but the lady is as 
uneducated, more characterless, and with a namby- 
pamby helplessness in addition. 

It is time we repudiated the idea that feebleness and 
refinement are inseparable. Good health is quite com- 
patible with the highest mental culture, and with all 
the graces of cultivated manners. 

It requires very little heroism in a woman to bear 
with patience the pains and disabilities imposed on her 
by Nature ; for they only afi'ect her physical system ; 
whereas those imposed by man often pertain to hei 
affections — to her mental rights, and cause more acute 
anguish than any bodily suffering could produce. 

Let Nature limit us by such disabilities as she will ; 
but let not man fetter us by his clumsy iron manacles 
of law and custom. GPive the same freedom socially, 
and intellectually, to womew which men enjoy, — teach 
them to use it for the best development of all their 
powers, — give them scope for action, purposes and 
aims worthy to enlist their highest aspirations, and 


we shall hear much less of feeble health. God never 
made a constitutional invalid ! Certainly, not a great 
class of weak, helpless, pre-ordained sick people. 

Secondly. There can be no true marriage except be- 
tween those who are essentially equals. A child-wife 
is a pretty plaything. She cannot be a fitting compan- 
ion for head or heart. 

There may be something attractive in the thought 
of moulding another being to meet your own ideal. All 
young persons are plastic and impressible ; and wheth- 
er it be wife, child, or any other loured one, it is de- 
lightful to watch its progress. But M. Michelet's wife 
and child are one ; there is the same pleasure in form- 
ing the character of each ; but neither of them are ex- 
pected to outgrow a dependent nature. She is expected 
to be "timid, docile, and obedient" to the end; a 
loving, receptive nature, with no vigor or originality. 
You are never to destroy " the velvet down of the 
soul " by imparting too much knowledge. 

It is all very well in educating youth of either sex, 
to have regard to their tender years, and to choose for 
them appropriate subjects of thought. But all truth 
which is good for man is good also for woman — that 
which can ennoble the one must ennoble the other. 
Doubtless they are not alike — not identical in mental 
traits ; but if they are not equals in the vigor and 
strength of mental life and activity, then the truest 
and highest marriage is impossible. A union devoid 
of the highest friendship must also be devoid of that 
most ennobling passion — love. The great soul itself 
must love greatness, and seek it in all its intimate and 
dear companionship. Unless the world can change its 


ideal of womanly capabilities, it can have but few 
exalted marriages- — but few children worthily born. 

What a deplorable picture is drawn by our author 
in his second book, of the inferiority of woman. 
" Soon, if we do not take care," he says, " in spite of 
casual meetings, there will be no longer two sexes, 
but two peoples." Has he found a cure for this ? A 
.man may love his child, or his child-wife for her 
pretty little artless ways ; but will he love her for 
those things when she is old and wrinkled ? 

If you would draw the man of the world into a 
truly worthy and permanent union, it must be with 
his peer. If you would elevate woman to this rank, 
it must be by giving her a purpose, motives, activities, 
self-reliance and individuality. Then the bond may 
last so long as memory and consciousness remain. 
Then the woman will find something to do after her 
children are grown — when she is no longer young; — 
then she will become the life of his soul, and together 
they will create new thoughts, new deeds ; then, if 
like the model wives of history, she cannot bear him 
on her shoulders from impending destruction, she 
might assist him to bear manfully any reverse of for- 
tune ; might convince him how infinitely more import- 
ant to a business man is a character for integrity and 
honor than a large capital without it ; might aid him 
to withstand the pernicious example of successful but 
fraudulent gain ; of corrupt morals in high places j 
might help him to train up their children's children , 
thus promoting individual happiness and human pro- 
gress ; might make this period of life an intellectual 
harvest to herself as to her husband. 



M. MicHELET has stripped the rerj fig-leaf from poor 
humanity ; exposing to view the strong passions and 
the weak will of man, without any beneficial end ; un- 
like the skilful surgeon, who probes and cats in order 
to cure, he merely states the facts, leaving the pen- 
alties resulting from au abuse of his nature, unex- 

The following paragraph contains more real and use- 
ful information for those who need it, than the whole 
volume just referred to. 

"There is a marked antagonism of the nervous and 
generative systems. Intense mental application, in- 
volving great waste of the nervous tissues, and a cor- 
responding consumption of nervous material for their re- 
pair, is accompanied by a cessation of the productive 
principle. And also that undue production involves eer- 
ebralinactivity. The first result of a morbid excess in 
this direction is a headache, which may be taken to indi- 
cate that the brain is out of repair ; this is followed by 
stupidity ; should the disorder continue, imbecility su 
pervenes, ending occasionally in insanity and death."^ 

* " New Theory of Population." 


Here, also, is a gem from Carlyle, wonderfully sug* 
gestive ; we would recommend it to the attention of 
those who consider sensuous pleasures the most desir- 
able good of life. 

" How true is that old fjible of the Sphinx, who sat 
by the wayside, propounding her riddle to th^ passers 
by, which, if they could not answer, she destroyed 
them. Such a Sphinx in this life of ours, to all men 
and societies of men. JSTature, like the Sphinx, is of 
womanly celestial loveliness and tenderness; the face 
and bosom of a goddess, but ending in claws and tlie 
body of a lioness. There is in her a celestial beauty ; 
which means celestial order, pliancy to wisdom ; but 
there is also a darkness and ferocity which are infernal. 
She is a goddess, but one not yet disimprisoned ; one 
still half imprisoned, — the inarticulate, lovely still in- 
cased in the inarticulate chaotic. How true ! And 
does she not propound her riddles to us ? Of each man 
she asks daily, in mild voice, yet with terrible signifi- 
cance : " Knowest thou the meaning of this Day ? 
What thou canst do to-day ; wisely attempt to do ?" 
Nature, Universe, Destiny, Existence, however we 
name this grand unnaraable fact, in the midst of which 
we live and struggle, is as a heavenly bride and con- 
quest to the wise and brave, to them who can discern 
her behests and do them ; a destroying fiend to them 
who cannot. Answer her riddle, it is well with thee. 
Answer it not, pass on regarding it not, it will answer 
itself; the solution for thee is a thing of teeth and 
claws ; Nature is a dumb lioness, deaf to thy pleadings, 
fiercely devouring. Thou art not now iier victorious 
bridegroom ; thou art her mangled victim, scattered on 


the precipices, as a slave found treacherous, recreant 
ought to be, and must." 

The authoress does not feel called upon to become a 
moral martyr in this cause; therefore will only indicate 
a few of the questions which might be put by the In- 

To the man of sixty-five or seventy, who marries a 
young girl, she might say, " Knowest thou not the 
penalty of thus outraging one of Nature's most holy 
laws ? Study it out, make reparation by a life of 
purity and continency, or thy days in this world are 

To him who allows reason and conscience to become 
subservient to the animal propensities, she might say, 
"Forbear ! or paralysis may strike thee down in the 
prime of thy life." 

Again, "Art thou a man well reputed, endorsed 
and accredited by good society, yet conscious of blight 
and mildew feeding at thy heart ? — decide, then, how 
many tons of popular adulation will weigh in the bal- 
ance against one grain of self-respect."* 

" Miserable father," says the Sphinx, " dost thou re- 
cognize thy own vices exaggerated in thy children ? — 
dost tliou see the seeds of hateful passions budding and 
blosssoming even in their infant lives? — dost thou 
stand shocked and appalled by fearful presentiments 
of theii- disgraceful future ? Solve this riddle, then— 

* Is there any paradox in this ? A man buoyed up like a feather 
on the breath of fashion, at the same time drawn down like a drown- 
ing man under the dark waters of remorse bj the mill-stone of secret 


wliicli is the most potent, the taint of hereditary vice, 
or the disinfectant of an unresting conscientious edu- 
cation ?" 

Ah ! the Inexorable will have all her questions an- 
swered ; or she will sit forever by the wayside of life 
propounding them and torturing us with her myste- 
ries, and making the solution of them to us, indeed, " a 
thing of teeth and claws ! " 

There is another beautiful Eastern fable of Adam 
and Eve when they were first expelled from Paradise. 
Desolate and homeless, they wandered amid the burn- 
ing sands of the desert, till exhausted they sank down 
under the unimpeded rays of the scorching sun, and, 
hand in hand, they slept. Micliael, the archangel, was 
passing that way ; his heart was moved to pity ; he 
would help them all he could. He was bearing seeds 
at the time, to be planted in various parts of the earth ; 
so he scattered many kinds of them around about 
where the helpless sleepers lay, and passed quickly on, 

By-and-bye, as Satan was passing to and fro in the 
earth, he came also, and looked on the sleepers. 
" Ah! " said he, " Adam and Eve I know, and these 
sands I know ; but what are these?" He bent over 
and carefully scanned the seeds. " At any rate, it 
will be safe to cover them up," mused the Father of 
Evil. So, with his cloven foot he scooped up the sand, 
and buried every little seed ; thus they were nicely 
planted. Straightway after he had departed, they 
sprang up rapidly into shrubs and trees. Some of 
them burst forth into flower, and all of them were 
covered with thick foliage, so that when the sleepers 


awoke, they found themselves in the midst of a beau- 
tiful oasis in the desert. 

Thus the master spirit of evil in the world, Igno- 
ranc, seems to have been always endeavoring to cover 
np the results of human experience. This hydra-head- 
ed monster tries to bury causes, and to have them for- 
gotten as things that have passed away ; but when ef- 
fects spring from them as their direct fruits, he whispers, 
" these came from the dark earth, where everything is 
mysterious, we know not whence they arose." So man- 
kind were deluded, and looked on stupidly, and almost 
ceased to believe in the inseparable bond of cause and 

This covering np process, however, has everywhere 
planted the seeds of both good and evil ; they have 
taken deep root in the rich soil of the human heart, 
and after these many ages they have sprung up, not 
simply, an oasis in the desert, but a vast extent of 
country, covered with every variety of growth, so lux- 
uriant, rank, and quick to decay, that a moral miasma 
is imminent ! The question is thus forced home with 
startling emphasis, how can we best clear away the 
noisome and useless plants, — the low, creeping, tangled 
undergrowth, which destroys beauty, and impedes pro- 

If causes had not been persistently buried out of 
sight, like the roots of vegetation, the result must have 
been less magnificent than at present. Now the pro- 
blems of human life are all on a grand complicated 
scale, — then they would have been direct, simple 
and narrow. We have been gaining every way in the 
bight, depth, and breadth of experiences ; and the 


grandest intellect may bend all its energies to the solu- 
tion of the intricate social and moral questions of the 
day. Thus is the overruling hand of a wise provi- 
dence forever controlling the affairs of mankind. De- 
spite the vices and the sufferings of even the lowest 
and most thoughtless classes, their destiny is still tend- 
ing upward. 

The magnificent discoveries in all other sciences, 
must quicken thought in the direction of the greatest 
and most practical of them all,— that of human devel- 
opment. Since the good angels are still every where 
scattering their celestial seeds, — since the beneficent 
Euler of all, is still sending His fruitful sunshine and 
his quickening showers ; we need not despond ! There 
is also a sublime and cheering movement, in the intel- 
ligent and active co-operation, of the combined intent- 
ness of many humane minds working together heroi- 
cally to further human progress. 



An article appeared several jea^rs since in the 
"Westminster Review" entitled " A Kew Tiieory of 
Population ;"'^ in which the author undertakes to show 
how the perfect and complete graduation of the num- 
ber of inhabitants, to the best development and the 
highest happiness of all, is to be continually secured. 

"When from lovvness of organization," says this 
writer, " the ability to contend with danger is small 
there must be great fertility, to compensate for the 
consequent mortality ; otherwise the race would die 
out. When on the contrary, high endowments give 
much capacity for self-preservation there needs a cor- 
responding low degree of fertility." Thus he assumes 
that the forces which tend to multiply the race, and 
the forces destructive to individual life, are antago- 
nistic, — and vary inversely. He confirms his hypo- 
thesis by facts and illustrations from the vegetable, 
and the animal kingdoms. 

This article embodies a vast amount of observation, 
learning, and research, in every department of natural 

* Herbert Spencer. 


history ; and abounds with close and logical arguments 
deduced from the wide range of knowledge thus ob- 
tained. The conchision arrived at, is very encoura- 
ging ; we cannot render a greater service to our reader, 
than to give the summing up entire.* 

Natural and physical causes are all potent and can 
never be set aside. We would give them everywhere 
their due weight and influence ; but man is by nature 
an intelligent and voluntary actor, — of course within 
the range of the established laws. If he would secure 
his own highest good, he must do it intelligently, and 
voluntarily by conforming to the physical and moral 
principles which alone can establish this good. 

The wisdom of Providence, by which all things are 
made self-adjusting, must finally bring the race into 
the conditions which will secure its constant progress- 
ive development. But if the individual ever attains 
any superior good for himself, it must be through his 
own earnest effort. If he would reach anything 
grander than the present, he must understand both the 
end and the rq^ans, and then work towards the desired 

Every great man must work out his own greatness. 
Nature plants the seeds within him, but he must nour- 
ish and foster them, as the gardener does his finest 
trees, or there will be neither choice fruit nor rare 

Nature can do many things well, but science and 
art co-operating with her, upon the basis of her own 
laws, can outstrip her in the race, and carry the work 

* See Appendix E. 


infinitely liiglier tlian she, unaided, could do. She 
produces the crab apple, which they improve into the 
pippin, and all the other delicious varieties. 

I would, therefore, urge the thought of individual 
responsibility everywhere ; and especially in the pa- 
rental relation. In some far off golden age, Nature 
may regulate the number of children which shall be 
desirable in each household : at present, every family 
must decide that matter for itself. Parents may tam- 
per with the life, or the reason, of an unborn child ; 
but it is inmieasurably better to learn that self-control 
which will give them only the number of offspring, 
that can be religiously welcomed, and trained with the 
care indispensible to their true well-being. 

ISTature, unassisted, in the course of centurres, may 
so arrange the affairs of mankind as to secure the 
utmost harmony ; but each generation, if it will, can 
do this for itself. Each human pair should decide 
how many children are desirable, how many, under 
all the family circumstances, will contribute to the 
best good of the whole. The age, the health, the 
occupation of either or both of the parents, and the pe- 
cuniary matters, are all modifying conditions which 
should limit the number of offspring. 

Children, _^(sr se, are undoubtedly blessings. The 
more numerous and close our social ties the better; 
and he who has nobly disciplined his own nature may 
reasonably expect worthy descendants. Life in itself 
is a good, and the new being should feel grateful that it 
has been conferred upon him. The parent, also, lives 
again in his child, sharing all his interests with the 
keenest zest. Thus the invisible bond of relationship 


widens and deepens the experiences of eacli ; it creates 
a growth which makes room for the more impersonal 
relationships and friendships with the great human 

"1 rejoice in your marriage," said a great man to a 
young friend, " not that it will make your life more 
happy, but that it will widen the compass of your ex- 
periences, and give you a larger and a more natural 

Yes, children are blessings ; real and genuine to the 
worthy. Every magnanimous heart feels repaid for 
the care bestowed upon them ; even the anxieties 
which must follow all young people, placed as ours 
are, in the great garden, where there are fruits of both 
good and evil, will confirm this decision, — grief, an- 
guish, and disappointment cannot revoke it; for in all 
these are recognized life's wholesome discipline to us 
and to them. 

Admitting all this, there may be -many reasons why 
a large family is not always desirable. The mother's 
health may- be in peril ; too frequent maternity may 
make it almost certain that she will sink at last, leav- 
ing her young family without the fostering care of a 
mother's love. There may be, also, hereditary weak- 
nesses, which it would be unwise to entail on others. 

The consumptive husband may leave his wife with a 
family, in whom the seeds of death are surely planted, 
to struggle on hopeless and alone, until the grave 
closes over every object of earthly affection, and she 
is left desolate. 

Again, a poor laborer with no hope or expectation 
beyond poverty, will bequeath to the world his dozen 


cliildren, who grow up untaught, -undisciplined, be- 
cause neither parent had time, means, or ability to be 
stow upon them ; and thus society is every where in- 
jured by the acts of the weak, the vicious, and the im- 

Every reflecting man should be able to control his 
passions hy his reason. It is tliis which constitutes his 
superiority over the brute creation. It is not enough 
that he is able to see the right and desirable course, he 
must be able to walk therein, putting aside all counter 
impulses, like a superior being, or he becomes more 
ignoble than the unreasoning animals, who know no 
higher law, therefore, break none. There is no dig- 
nity in man's rational nature if he cannot rule himself 
by its dictates. 

These ideas may be scouted by the self-indulgent, 
ridiculed by the thoughtless, and ignored by the fas- 
tidious ; they may, even, meet with grave rebuke by 
the conscientious^ but timidly conservative. Yet 
they are the thoughts of the age on this subject. No- 
ble and far-seeing minds recognize them j'^^.the unself- 
ish and the magnanimous already accept them as the 
practical rule of life ; they have sprung into existence 
from a thousand different sources, and, like leaven, 
they are destined to pervade and to elevate society. 

It is the right, the duty of every man to decide for 
himself, as an intelligent and responsible moral agent, 
whether he can conscientiously accept the relation 
of parent, — more especially it is the right of every 
wife to do this. The perils and the cares are largely 

* Spe Appendix F. 


hers ; her rights and her duties are commensurate with 
these. Will she become the mother of one, two, 
three, or half a score of children ? It is her solemn 
privilege to decide this matter as the equal, the peer, 
of her husband — with no more rights than he, certainly 
with no less. The social relations of the two must re- 
quire the concurrence of both, in all matters of mo- 
ment, and neither has the right of coercion. Human- 
itj has been cursed long enough by its poor tear- 
washed children ; while they still come to us as tlie 
heavy penalties of unrestrained impulses, whether in 
wedlock or out of it. God help them and the race. 

How low have we fallen, then, when theory rises no 
higher than practice, — when our teachers give us no 
better instruction than the every day practice of the 
ignorant ? Nay, the poor wife is taught that in feeble- 
ness, as in health, her husband's will must be her law, 
•that she must accept maternity always as the one con- 
dition of her wifely estate. The time will come when 
this code of wedded morality will be abhorred ; people 
will think higher, will acknowledge a self-sovereignty 
as omnipotent over the flesh, as it is now thought, it 
should be over the spirit, — for there is a steady growth 
upwards, and a worthy idea which has once gained the 
ear of the people, must make its way into their 

"While we are dwelling upon the causes of inherited 
weaknesses, it would be fatal to overlook that which 
lies at the foundation of all others. Think, then, of 
each successive child, dating its life from no high- 

See Apj)endix GL 


er impulse than sensuality, the main-spring of its 
being, tempered at such an altar, can it be expected 
to possess that most difficult, most God-like attribute, 
self control ? Yet these are only some of the streams 
flowing from that great turbid fountain of inheritance, 
a fountain so dark and deep that we have scarcely 
dared attempt to fathom it ; but the stream can never 
run clear until the source be purified. 

The remedy is safe and practicable. Give to the 
youth a liigh aim in life, and he will cease to be pro- 
fligate. There is as much in the principle of counter- 
irritants in morals, as in medicine. Employ the mind 
in other directions; give it change, rest, stimulus in 
some worthy cause, hold the body in check by plain 
food and the pure element, by fresh air, much bathing, 
and abundant exercise. A strong sense of right, and 
an earnest purpose to pursue it, added to such disci- 
pline, would be omnipotent. 

A well-devised system of gymnastics would, also, 
have a most valuable influence in the development and 
invigoration of the frame during the approach to 
adolescence ; and would be capable of correcting, or, 
at least, keeping in check many unfavorable tenden- 
cies. Such a system would be well worthy of the at- 
tention of those who are engaged in the education of 



Pkobably the present extravagant and luxurious 
mode of living involves so great an outlay of means 
that men with families are obliged often to sacriiice 
health and strength in order to meet it. Yet this a 
condition of things of their own creating. A perverted 
love of the beautiful, and a passion for elegant and ex- 
pensive surroundings, appear to have become a national 
trait in the upper classes of this cour.tr3\ American 
women have acquired a reputation all over Europe, 
for extravagant liabits and a lavish expenditure for 
personal adornments. This unenviable reputation 
must react upon themselves ; many of their daughters 
will be obliged to remain unmarried ; for, with the 
prospect before them of an extravagant wife and an 
expensive family, bachelors will not have the courage 
to "propose." Nature is, however, always true to 
herself. The beautiful, talented and vivacious girl 
requires no external adornments ; her native loveliness 
will always attract an admiring circle, while her dull, 
uninteresting and overdressed companion is neglected. 

As mind is superior to matter, so are mental accom- 
plishments and personal beauty superior to — 


" Robes of satin and Brussels lace, 
Rubies, diamonds, or pretty face." 

This view of the subject might very properly rank 
under the head of domestic economy ; and the ques- 
tion be asked, if parents were able to bestow upon 
their daughters sound constitutions, personal graces, 
and good mental abilities, would not such qualities 
conduce more to their true and permanent happiness 
than great wealth without them ? * 

If the choice were submitted to the daughters, we 
apprehend there would be but little doubt as to which 
way they would decide. The heart of woman yearns 
for love as its natural aliment. Her keen apprecia- 
tion of this noble sentiment enables her to detect at 

* " Mamas anxious to make their daughters attractive, could scarcely 
choose a course more fatal than that which sacrifices the body to tlie 
mind. Either they disregard the tastes of the opposite sex, or else 
their conception of those tastes is erroneous. Men care comparatively 
little for erudition in women ; but very much for physical beauty, and 
good nature and sound sense. How many conquests does the blue- 
stocking make through her extensive knowledge of history ? 

But rosy cheeks and laughing eyes are great attractions. The liveli- 
ness and good humor that overflowing health produces, go a great 
way towards establishing attachments. Every one knows of cases 
where bodil}' perfections, in the absence of all other recommendations, 
have incited a passion that carried all before it ; but scarcely any one 
can point to a case where mere intellectual acquirements, apart from 
moral or physical attributes, have secured such a feeling. The truth 
is, that out of many elements uniting in various proportions to produce 
in a man's breast that complex emotion which we call love, the 
strongest are those produced by physical attractions ; the next in order 
of strength are those produced by moral attractions ; the weakest 
are those produced by intellectual attractions ; and even tliese are 
dependent much less upon acquired knowledge than on natural fac- 
ulty—quickness, wit, insight."— Education : Physical, Moral and Intel- 
lectual. By Herbert Spencer. Page 279. 


once the real from the spurious ; and it is only under 
the influence of the former, she well knows, that men 
are constrained to surrender themselves uncondition- 
ally at the shrine of wit and beauty. 

A gentleman who possessed a fine person, polished 
manners, and a large fortune, was asked by a lady 
whose children he was admiring, why he did not 

" Madam," he replied, " I should be most happy to 
do so, if I could find a young lady, who with an agreea- 
ble person combined refined and cultivated tastes, and 
high-minded, honorable principles." 

Beautiful attributes, certainly ; but not so rare in good 
society, as many bachelors endeavor to persuade them- 
selves, in order to hide their own selfishness. But to 
enable one to recognize high moral, or intellectual 
qualities in another, it is necessary to possess tliem, in 
some degree, one's self. 

Let us look into the conduct and habits of this class 
of single gentlemen about town, and endeavor to ascer- 
tain on what they found their claims to higli-minded 
and honorable wives ; also, what is their standard of 
honorable conduct. 

Do they consider it honorable, to bestow all their 
politeness and attentions on young married ladies ; 
making themselves perfect bankrupts, with not even a 
rag of civility to throw to the single ones ? Is it hon- 
orable to flirt with a fiancee, for the mere pleasure of 
gratifying one's vanity, and making her lover jealous ? 
Is it honorable to abuse the confidence of a friend, by 
trying to corrupt the principles of his wife, by forcing 
costly presents on her acceptance ? Is it honorable 


to gain the affections of an innocent young girl, and 
after an engagement of many years, to desert her, in 
order to marry the daughter of a wealthy man ; know- 
ing that the antecedents of the parents are not credit- 
able ; or that a tendency to insanity or disease runs in 
the family ? 

These questions, it will be perceived, are confined 
to social relations. Many others might be asked in re- 
lation to the standard of honor which obtains in fash- 
ionable Club- Houses, where these aspirants for high- 
minded and honorable wives " most do congregate." 

Every community has its own social customs, which 
are quite as positive and distinct as its local opinions 
and prejudices ; unconsciously adopted at first, they 
are in the end tenaciously defended, and whoever 
dares to attack them is regarded as a maligner. 
The rural districts have tlieir own peculiar vices, doubt- 
less, but large towns certainly have theirs. One cus- 
tom which prevails extensively in cities, is most per- 
nicious and evil in its infinences. I refer to the con- 
stant and intimate attentions of unmarried gentlemen 
to married ladies. Society tolerates this gallantry, — 
even fosters, protects and defends it, as a refined stim- 
ulus to social life. The husband is pleased with the 
attentions which his wife commands ; the wife is vain 
of her power, and of her conquests ; while her rivals 
may envy or admire the piquancy of her Platonic 
friendships. If she is gay and attractive, a whole bevy 
of single gentlemen become her constant attendants ; 
they make her morning calls ; ride with her ; walk 
with her ; attend her to the ball ; to the opera ; or meet 


her there ; always smiling and elegant, as her very wel- 
come satellites. The husband smiles, too, dreaming 
only of his own ease and freedom, and of his wife's 
popularity. Thus we have created and tolerated that 
order of " nice young men " who become attached 
to other men's wives, but for themselves, despise 

The sharp tongue of the country-town would soon 
talk such men out of its borders. Such neighborly su- 
pervision may have its inconveniences ; but in a com- 
munity where everybody knows just what families, or 
members of families attend church, — just which ladies 
have four new bonnets a year, and which contrive to 
get along with two or three, — this class of the genus 
homo, at least has no chance of an existence. Every 
whisper of scandal awakens an echo of warning in each 
household; but when a city has merged the individu- 
ality of its hundreds of thousands, it has no protection 
for the thoughtless young wife, whose husband, absor- 
bed in his own pursuits, leaves her to stem the current 
of ruinous social precedents as best she can. Now and 
then we are startled and shocked by some domestic 
tragedy ; but it is like a pebble thrown into a great 
stream, — it is covered up in a moment, and we are 
again watching the dancing bubbles that float and 
sparkle on its surface. 

Young married ladies may feel flattered by the at- 
tentions of fashionable single gentlemen, — may delight 
in rivaling the fairest maidens as belles and coquettes; 
but if they knew the utter unscrupulonsness of some 
of this class, they would sooner trust themselves to the 
influence of the poison-exhaling Upas, or to the death- 


dealing blast of tlie scorching Simoon, than to court, 
or receive their attentions. " It has been suggested," 
says Margaret Fuller, " by men who were pained by 
seeing bad men admitted freely to the society of mod- 
est women, thereby encouraged to vice by impunity, 
and corrupting the atmospheres of homes, — that there 
should be a Senate of matrons in each city and town, 
who should decide what candidates were fit for admis- 
sion to their houses and the society of their daughters. 

" Such a plan might have excellent results, but it 
argues a moral dignity and decision, which does not 
yet exist, and needs to be induced by knowledge and 
reflection. It has been the tone to keej) women igno- 
rant on these subjects, or when they were not, to com- 
mand that they should seem so. ' It is indelicate,' 
says the father or husband, ' to inquire into the pri- 
vate character of such an one. It is sufficient that I 
do not think him unfit to visit you.' And so he intro- 
duces there a man whose shame is written on his 
brow, as well as the open secret of the whole town ; 
and presently, if respeotahle still, and rich enough, 
gives him his daughter to wife. Tlie mother afifects 
ignorance, ' supposing he is no worse than most men.' 
The daughter is ignorant ; something in the mind of 
the new spouse seems strange to her, but she supposes 
it is ' woman's lot' not to be perfectly happy in her 
aff'ections ; she has always heard, ' men could not un- 
derstand women,' so she weeps alone, or takes to 
dress, or the duties of the house. The husband of 
course makes no avowal, and dreams of no redemp- 

" Let every woman who has once begun to think on 


this subject, examine herself — see whether she does 
not suppose virtue possible and necessary to man, and 
whether she would not desire for her son a virtue that 
aimed at a fitness for a divine life, and involved, if not 
asceticism, that degree of power over the lower self, 
which shall ' not exterminate the passions, but keep 
them chained at the feet of reason.' The passions, 
like fire, are a bad master ; but confine them to the 
hearth and the altar, and they give life to the social 
economy, and make each sacrifice meet for heaven. 

" When many women have thought upon this sub- 
ject, some will be fit for the Senate — and one such 
Senate in operation would affect the morals of the ci- 
vilized world. 

"At present I look to the young. As preparatory to 
the Senate, I should like to see a society of novices, 
such as the world hus never yet seen, bound by no 
oath, wearing no badge. In place of an oath they 
should have a religious faith in the capacity of men 
for virtue ; instead of a badge, should wear in the 
heart a firm resolve not to stop short of the destiny 
promised him as a son of God. Their service should 
be action and conservatism, not of old habits, but of 
a better nature, enlightened by hopes that daily grow 
brighter. "^ 

" If sin was to remain in the world, it should not 
be by their cotmivance at its stay, or one moment's 
concession to its claims. 

" They should succor the oppressed, and pay to the 
upright the reverence due in hero-worship by seeking 
to emulate them. They would not denounce the wil- 
lingly bad, but they would not be with them, for the 



two classes could not breathe the same atmosphere. — - 
They would heed no detention from the time-serving, 
the worldly^ and the timid ; and they would love no 
pleasures that were not innocent and capable of good 



If a few men are vampires, feeding on the nervous 
energy of their families, many women are worse than 
millstones about the necks of their husbands. Every 
woman who enters married life with no other purpose 
in view than social enjoyment and personal adorn- 
ment — who spends her days alternating between lassi- 
tude and company as frivolous as herself, is a heavy 
drag upon her husband. If he is ambitious and ener- 
getic, and aspires to anything higher, his soul must 
revolt at such a helpmeet. 

We know that it is poetical to designate woman as 
a parasite — a clinging tendril, seeking support from 
the sturdy strength of manhood. Yet retributive Na- 
ture has decreed that the parasite shall feed mainly 
on decayed life ; and that wherever it flourishes, it 
superinduces disease and death. Many a noble oak or 
elm has been sapped of its strength by the beautiful 
vine which crept lovingly about it, challenging its 
protection and support. 

In some of the forests of South America may be seen 
high colurnns of vegetation in the form of cylinders. 
This phenomena is produced by the decay of a large 


forest tree, wliicli had been enveloped by parasites. 
Poor creeping things, tliey not only hung upon its 
limbs a dead-weight, but they absorbed its vitality. 
Fit emblem of man's fate, when he takes to himself a 
wife, weak, indolent and selfish. In vain he immo- 
lates himself a willing martyr on the altar of matrimo- 
ny, if there be no sympathetic heart or co-worker to 
share its responsibilities and its duties. His vain, fri- 
volous wife spends her mornings shopping or making 
calls, (leaving her children to the coarse influence of 
hirelings, where their health or their morals may be 
corrupted,) and her afternoons indolently reclining on 
a sofa, reading the weakest of weekly magazines. If 
he has a taste for reading, and would like to keep up 
with the current literature of the day, or the progress 
of the age, and lead her on to congenial pursuits, he 
has no opportunity ; for one night she must be accom- 
panied to a party, another to a concert or opera, and 
the next she has calls at home : so the season passes 
with little leisure and no improvement, but with a 
slow and ceaseless wear upon the strong man's mind 
and body. Her weakness is as fatal to him as the 
" shirt of Nessus " ! 

An energetic business occupation strengthens man 
or woman. Over-care and over-exertion are evils — 
but indolence is an evil tenfold more destructive. 
Few women would ever become so absorbed in any 
business, that some months of comparative leisure at 
home would not seem like a pleasant rest and change. 
There would be a positive benefit in the transition, 
which need he only a partial one^ while the mother 


nourished the unborn hope like a holy thing in her 
bosom, ready to do, and to bear unselfishly for the 
sake of one dearer than self. Ah, there is no true in- 
compatibility between an honorable life-calling, pro- 
perly conducted, and the most faithful and conscien- 
tious discha-rge of every maternal obligation. The de- 
votee of fashion will be much more likely to neglect 
her children than the earnest woman who finds too 
much value in life to be willing to idle it away. — 
Business now is the Moloch to which men sacrifice 
their lives. They must do this to maintain their fam- 
ilies in the position they desire ; but when and women 
are co-workers in business and in the home, there 
need be no immolations on the mammon altar for the 
benefit of the family— they all may harmonize and 
prosper together. Neither the husbands worn out 
with over-work, nor the wives devoured by listless- 
ness. Then also may come children who will not 
only love but respect their parents, and bring new ho- 
nors to the family name. 



In a little company of savans, one evening, the con- 
versation turned upon the causes of various social 
evils. One gentleman designated the immorality 
wliicli frequently exists in the marriage relation, as a 
most prolific source of more open vice. His strong 
statement was received with incredulity. He turned 
to a physician of eminent standing, and asked, " Doc- 
tor, how many children of the whole number born in 
this city, do you believe have been cordially wel- 
comed by both parents ?" 

''Not one in ten. " 

" How many mothers of large families, have prob- 
ably been desirous of many children ?" 

" Perhaps one in fifty ;" answered the Doctor. 

"About what would be the proportion of births, as 
compared with the present, if the whole matter were 
left to the choice of the wives?" 

" Hah !" said the Doctor, drawing a hard breath 
through his teeth, and starting to his feet, "not a sixth 

Two other physicians present considered this a 
pretty correct estimate ; and the small band of wise 


men were divided in opinion, as to whether it would 
be safe to give women a decisive voice in this matter. 
There were a few who contended that, in that event, 
the world would become depopulated. 

Yet there are very few women without enough of 
the maternal instinct, to make them regard some chil- 
dren as an exceeding blessing ; and no happily mar- 
ried wife would long be content with a childless home. 
The perils, sufferings, and anxieties, incident to the 
condition, are counted as nothing, when weighed in 
the balance, against such an evil. 

Yet the young girl is scarcely ever ready for these 
new responsibilities, during the first few years of her 
marriage. The trials and cares connected with the 
little one, prove so exhausting, that she is in no haste 
to repeat them ; and when one after another, has been 
unwillingly added to the number, there is but little 
chance of her ever becoming the mother of a child truly 
desired. After months of weeping, peevishness, and 
low spirits — there may be joy at last, " that a man is 
born into the world ;" but the son is not likely to give 
his mother much joy, after having been nurtured all 
his ante-natal life, on such bitter thoughts. As well 
might we expect the blossom that had been blasted by 
the north wind, to bring forth good fruit. 

It may frequently be observed in some families, that 
after an interval of several years, there has come at 
last a truly welcome child ; one who proves to be infi- 
nitely superior to all which preceeded it. 

A young married couple in the State of Ohio, had 
two little girls, pleasant and bright children enough, 
but neither beautiful nor any way remarkable. The at- 


tention of the parents, meantime, had been directed to 
the subject of parental responsibilities; thej were 
thoughtful, earnest, conscientious persons, who receiv- 
ed every new theory with avidity, that they could 
make practical and self-improving. Accordingly, they 
resolved to have no more children, until they could 
hope to confer on them a superior nature. 

In the zeal of their earnestness, they announced this 
determination to confidential friends ; tliey also ven- 
tured prophecies respecting the improved character of 
the expected child. Nor were they disappointed. 
The little girl answered all their anticipations, was 
beautiful, sprightly, and precocious ; she bids fair to 
out-strip both her sisters in intellectual attainments. 
True there had been, meantime, years of growth and 
maturity to the parents ; this, in itself, must have ben- 
efited the child ; but who will doubt that their harmo- 
nious and joyful hope, contributed much also ? 

In sacred writ we find this idea illustrated. " Let 
it be unto thine handmaiden even as thou sayest," an- 
swered Mary the mother of Jesus at the Annuncia- 
tion. Hannah, the mother of Samuel, is another 
case in point. Some of the most holy men of modern 
history, missionaries and martyrs, were, like Samuel, 
" asked of the Lord," and dedicated to His service 
even before birth, by mothers whose hearts were fired 
with a holy zeal for the cause of Christ and for the re- 
demption of mankind. 

Allow to wives more independence of character, 
more individuality — give them time and opportuni- 
ties for self-culture — teach them that on themselves 
depend the future happiness or misery of their off- 


spring — give them also a womanly right in their cliil- 
dren, and we shall find the maternal instinct both 
strong and sacred. Children will then become more 
beautiful, more healthy, and harmonious in body and 
in mind. While the mothers are only passive sub- 
jects, the children must have craven souls; the child 
of the serf will ever cleave to the soil from inevitable 
necessity. Nature's retribution is thus written on 
successive generations ; for it was ordained from the 
beginning, that plant, and animal, and man, should 
bring forth seed, " each after his kind." The weak 
and inefficient woman must therefore bear children as 
inertly passive in nature as herself. 

" Man," says Margaret Fuller, " in the order of 
time, was developed first ; as energy comes before 
harmony, power before beauty. Woman was there- 
fore under his care as an elder. He might have been 
her guardian and teacher. 

" lint as human nature goes not straightforward, he 
misunderstood and abused his advantages, and be- 
came her temporal master instead of her spiritual 

" On himself came the punishment. He educated 
woman more as a servant than as a daughter, and 
found himself a king without a queen. 

" The children of this unequal union showed une- 
qual natures, and more and more men seemed sons 
of the handmaid rather than of princes.* 

* This view of the subject might account for the abject dispositions 
of the offspring of white fathers and slave mothers. It has been fre- 
quently stated, as a proof of the inferiority of this mixed race, that no 


" At last there were so many Islimaelites that the 
rest grew frightened and indignant. They laid the 
blame on Hagar, and drove her into the wilderness. 
But yet there were none the less Ishmaelites for that. 

" At last men became a little wiser, and saw that 
the infant Moses was in every case saved by the pure 
instincts of a mother's breast. For as too much ad- 
versity is better for the moral nature than too much 
prosperity, woman, in this respect, dwindled less than 
man, though, in other respects, still a child in leading 

" So man did her more and more justice, and grew 
more and more kind. 

" But yet, his habits and his will corrupted by the 
past, he did not clearly see that woman was half him- 
self, that her interests were identical with his, and that 
by the law of their common being, he could never 
reach his true proportions while she remained in any 
wise shorn of hers. 

" And so it has gone on to our day, both ideas de- 
veloping, but more slowly than they would under a 
clearer recognition of truth and justice, which would 
have permitted the sex their due influence on one 
another, and mutual improvement from more dignified 

able or heroic men, have ever sprung up among them. Now it is a well 
known law of Nature, that the moral characteristics of the mother, are 
generally transmitted to the son ; and those of the father, to the daugh- 
ter ; theretore it may be presumed that the white father transmits a 
very low degree of moral nature to his quadroon daughter. Hence, it 
follows that the latter cannot transmit to her son, that which she does 
not possess herself. 


" Wherever there was pure love, the aatural influ- 
ences were, for a time, restored. 

" Wherever the poet or the artist gave free scope to 
his genius, he saw the truth, and expressed it in worthy- 
forms, for these men especially share and need the 
feminine principle. The divine birds need to be 
brooded into life and song by mothers."* 

If, like Asmodeus, one had the power to remove the 
roofs of human habitations, and take a look into the 
private lives and histories of some families, one might 
And many curious cases of special retribution, many- 
evidences of cause and effect in the moral, as well as 
the physical aspect of affairs. Many an avenging 
Nemesis would be found at her post scourging the of- 
fender, whether in the person of the husband and father, 
or of the wife and mother. So long as the husband 
will not recognize the supreme power of his wife over 
the ante-natal life (both mental and physical) of her 
child, and give her the best possible conditions to im- 
prove it, so long will this avenging scourge hang over 
Ms head, so long will his children prove a curse in- 
stead of a blessing to his hearth-stone. So long, too, 
as the mother ignores her responsibility in regard to 
the constitution and moral nature of her expected 
child, and consults only her own ease and inclinations, 
irrespective of the laws of transmission, and feels that 
she has no higher function to perform than the mere 
involuntary instincts of animal life, that she has no ex- 
alted nature in herself to impart, so long will she im- 
pede human progress, and be the mother of a degen- 
erate offspring. 

* See Appendix H. 



A niGHXY nervous susceptibility is one of the distin- 
guishing attributes of woman. Through this wisely 
bestowed organism she is able to recognize truth as by 
intuition. Discarding the slow process of reasoning 
from facts, so necessary to man in forming his opin- 
ions, she arrives at conclusions by an apparently innate 
light, in sympathy with the good, the true and the use- 
ful. This predominance and activity of the nervous 
system in woman manifests itself most forcibly in the 
maternal relations, constituting her an efficient agent 
in transmitting strongly marked characteristics to off- 
spring. It not unfrequently endows her with almost 
superhuman energy to support, to train and to educate 
them for good and efficient members of society. Yet, 
as every human function is liable to abuse or perver- 
sion, so this one, although instituted by divine wisdom 
to beautify and to elevate the race, may become the 
means of much evil, through the though tlessnes, self- 
ishness, or the ignorance of herself, or of those with 
whom she associates. 

The preceding remarks may be illustrated by the 
following cases ; the first showing the beneficial effects 


of unusual energy on the part of the motlier in improv- 
ing the character of her unborn child ; the second, the 
baneful action of any sudden shock or painful emotion 
which tends to diminish the nervous energy and 
strength of the mother during the period referred to ; 
the third, the pernicious influence of distateful associa- 
tions and constant annoyance. 

A lady, with whom the writer is intimate, accom- 
panied her husband to London, where business de- 
tained nim a year. At the end of that period, she 
returned home with another child added to h^r family. 
On being asked in regard to what she had seen in the 
great metropolis, she answered, not so much as she 
had desired ; yet probably would not have seen any- 
thing of interest, had she not exerted unwonted energy 
and perseverance. Her liusband could not attend her 
on account of press of business ; so, thinking she might 
never have another opportunity to see the sights of 
London, she took her little son for an escort. By this 
means she visited every place of historic interest to 
which she could gain admittance, cultivated her taste 
for painting and sculpture in the art galleries, enlarged 
her knowledge of the antique in the British Museum, 
expanded her views in many things, and returned 
home with added strength of character and self-reli- 
ance as the fruits of her year's observation and experi- 
ence abroad. Twenty years have elapsed, and the 
daughter nurtured and born under such favorable in- 
fluences promises to make herself a name in the world 
of art. Endowed with capacity, energy and talent, 
she asks no questions as to woman's sphere, but feels 
perfectly competent to attain an independence by her 


own efforts. '' To be weak," says Carljle, " is to be 
miserable." This girl is perfectly joyous and jubilant 
in the plenitude of her powers, mental and physical. 
By what standard of money value could such advant- 
ages be computed. 

This fact came to my knowledge through a friend, 
wlio was intimate with the teacher of the unfortunate 

A young mother, within two or three months of 
accouchement, was thrown into a state of stupor or 
or syncope by sudden fright, at seeing her husband 
fall in convulsions at her feet. For some length of 
time after his recovery, she was unable to shake off 
the torpor and chill which had seized her, and was sub- 
ject to a sensation of numbness whenever he was ab- 
sent from her for any length of time. This unnatural 
and painful condition of the mother must have had the 
effect of arresting the development of her child ; for 
when born it was unusually small and feeble, with 
scarcely strength enough to breathe. At ten years of 
age this blighted girl is diminutive in stature and idi- 
otic in mind — not from any malformation of the brain 
but from the absence of nervous energy. This case 
was not the result of accident, or of causes unforeseen, 
and therefore unavoidable. The father, although an 
educated physician, was a gourmand, and through this 
liabit was subject to violent convulsive attacks: the 
one which paralyzed his young wife, and thereby 
doomed his unborn daughter to idiocy was induced by 
a hearty supper of stewed clams ! 
. The late Mrs. Williamson, wife of a clergyman, and 


principal of a female seminary in this city, gave me 
the following fact : — 

" Born to afflaence, my sister, Mrs B., was accns- 
tomed to the refinements of the best society, to the 
intellectual resources and to the social pleasures of a 
city life. All these advantages she enjoyed several 
years after her marriage, until a reverse of circum- 
stances and a numerous family made it necessary to 
retrench expenses. To that end, her husband re- 
moved his family to a country residence a convenient 
distance from town, where he could return home every 
day after business hours. This change was satisfactory 
and agreeable to all the family during the summer 
m.onths ; but when inclement weather and the long 
winter evenings came, and my sister was left alone by 
the absence of her husband, night after night, with no 
companionship except young children, this mode of 
life became extremely irksome, and she grew nervous 
and discontented. Besides her other causes of dissat- 
isfaction, she was annoyed by an awkward, ugly 
nurse-maid, who was scarcely ever out of her sight — 
added to all this, she had an unwelcome maternity in 
prospect. The child nurtured and born under such 
impressions and influences was extremely peevish and 
unhappy in disposition, and although it resembled the 
father in complexion and features, it appeared to have 
been marked through the mother's imagination with 
the uncouth form and the awkward manners of the 
disagreeable nurse-maid. So apparent was this, that 
before two years of age she had acquired the nick- 
name of ' little Bridget.' Unlike all the children who 
preceded her, who are refined and beautiful, she is a 


living witness to the susceptibility of the mother dur- 
ing the period of gestation." 

The peculiar susceptibility of the mother appears to 
act morally as well as intellectually and pliysically 
upon the ante-natal life of her child. A lady who had 
been a governess in the family of a wealthy Southern 
planter, gave me this fact: 

The oldest daughter of the family had been persuad- 
ed by her parents, much against her own inclinations, 
to marry a man she did not love. She possessed a 
most affectionate disposition, and was ardently attach- 
ed to her parents, sisters, and home. Immediately af- 
ter her marriage, notwithstanding her expressed de- 
sire to remain with her family, her husband insisted 
upon her accompanying him to Europe. They were 
absent over a year, during which time a daughter was 
born to tliem. This child, nurtured on such discord- 
ant sentiments, manifested a great dislike to her fa- 
ther at an early age. This feeling seemed to have 
gained strength with her years. At the age of eight 
it amounted to a passion of perfect hatred ; she would 
never allow him to caress her without a struggle of op- 
position. Moreover, she sought every opportunity to 
keep out of his presence ; and although violent and 
uncontrollable with him, towards her grand-parents, 
whom she tenderly loved, she was gentle, docile, and 

There is a useful moral to be inferred from this case, 
over which every overbearing husband or father 
should ponder well ; it may serve as a key to solve 
many a domestic problem — for such Lusus Naturod 
appear not without a cause. 



I AM aware that in the treatment of subjects of this 
nature, facts are far more satisfactory than arguments. 
The following was related to me by a friend who had 
taught school in Illinois : 

Among my scholars there were five belonging to 
one family, whose ages ranged from eight to sixteen. 
Tlie two eldest were dull, inert, and slow to learn — 
while the third, a girl about twelve years of age, was 
remarkably bright, sensitive and talented. ISTot only 
apt and quick at her lessons, she possessed a fine poet- 
ic temperament, accompanied by a keen appreciation 
of the beauties of Nature ; she could also write a 
theme in prose or verse with ease and facility. The 
children younger than Sarah were both physically and 
mentally superior to the two eldest, but far inferior to 
her in talent and refinement of manners. The cause 
of the great diversity of disposition and capability ma- 
nifested in this family, would have continued to me an 
unsolved problem, had I not found a key to it in the 
" Parents' Guide." Therefore, in order to test its 
theory, and to satisfy myself on the subject, Itdok my 
sewing one Saturday afternoon, and went to visit Mrs. 


Smith, the motlier of this family. She was a plain, 
sensible woman, in capacity not above mediocrity, but 
self-sacrificing, and ambitious to bestow a good educa- 
tion on her children — characteristics peculiar to wo- 
men brought up in the Eastern States. Mrs. Smith 
and her husband had removed to Illinois soon after 
their marriage, and had by their prudence and indus- 
try accumulated considerable property. 

During my visit I took occasion to turn the subject 
of our conversation to the children. I spoke of the 
rare abilities of Sarah ; of her affectionate and gentle 
disposition, of her love for reading, of her intense en- 
joyment of poetry, and all that was beautiful in na- 
ture, and of the advantage which she possessed over 
her brothers and sisters in her aptitude for acquiring 
knowledge. I then asked Mrs. Smith if she knew any 
cause to which she could attribute the rare mental 
gifts of this favored child. 

"She did not," she replied. 

Had any friend been staying with yon previous to 
the birth of Sarah, by whose companionship and con- 
versation your mind became interested and elevated ? 

" No event of that kind occurred," she answered. 
" The railroads were not finished in those days, trav- 
eling was expensive, and my friends and relations 
lived at a distance." 

Can you not recollect any unusual event that trans- 
pired about the time to which I allude, that might 
have produced a change in your mode of life, or 
habits of thouo-ht ? 

" I cannot ; my life since we settled in Illinois has 
been extremely monotonous — hard work, without 


cliaiige or recreation ; for to a farmer's wife each day 
brings its imperative labor that cannot be evaded. 
But thank heaven, our children will reap the benelit 
of our toil and privation." 

Not obtaining any satisfaction on the subject that 
occupied my thoughts, I gave up the inquiry for the 
time, determined to get at the truth by some less di- 
rect method. So after a while I turned the conversa- 
tion to books and reading, and asked her if she did 
not consider it a great privation to be unable to pro- 
cure some of the new books and periodicals, from 
which she might learn how much the world was 
progressing ? 

" Yes," she answered ; " when we first Settled here 
I missed my former privileges in regard to books ; our 
friends at the East occasionally sent us newspapers, 
but they were not as satisfying as a good book, more 
especially as a book of poems would have been, for at 
times I feared my mind was becoming lethargic for 
the want of a stimulus to the imagination." 

Ah ! you are fond of poetry then ; liave you not 
been able to get any of your favorite reading since you 
came to Illinois ? 

" Only once ; a pedlar came along late one after- 
noon, and asked the privilege of putting up with us 
for the night. After supper he brought from his wa- 
gon some books for our inspection ; among them, one 
beautifully bound in red and gold attracted my atten- 
tion. I read a few pages, was enchanted, and made 
up my mind that come what would, I must have the 
book. So not having money enough to purchase it, I 


walked four miles that niglit before bed-time in order 
to borrow the price of it from a neighbor." 

What, may I ask, was the name of the book which 
you could take so much trouble to possess ? 

" It was the Poems of Walter Scott ; and a glorious 
time I had in reading it, for often in the perusal of its 
pages I forgot my fatigues and cares." 

How long since did this event occur, Mrs. Smith ? 

" Oh, I do not remember ; a long time ago. But 
now I do remember — it was some months before Sa- 
rah was born; because having read it so often I knew 
much of it by rote, and used to sing the songs to her 
when she was a baby, and repeat the stories to her 
when she was a little girl." 

Ah, indeed ! why, this may account for her love 
of poetry and imaginative turn of mind. 

" It may, but I never thought of it before in that 

Parents, I answered, are generally over-anxious to 
accumulate property in order to enrich their children. 
But do you not think that children would prefer a 
sound physical constitution, and a good mental de- 
velopment, to great worldly possessions without 

"Yes indeed, for I am sure that our two eldest boys 
would give all their father's farm, if they owned it, in 
exchange for Sarah's good health, cheerful disposition, 
and fine mental qualities." 

Mr. Smith understands, I have heard, and puts in 
practice all the new metliods by which the live stock 
on his farm can be improved. Did it never occur to 
him that the same laws which govern the improve- 


ment of domestic animals, might witli equal advantage 
be applied to tlie human species ? 

" I don't understand you." 

For instance, he knows that in order to secure a 
strong, active and finely developed colt, he must bo 
careful of the mare ; must not work her too much, 
must give her good food, a clean and well ventilated 
stable, and exercise sufficient to keep her in an active 
and lively condition. 

" That is true ; and I now wonder that men have 
never thought of putting in practice, in their own fam- 
ilies, the knowledge they have obtained on this sub- 
ject. Your suggestion, madam, has stirred up the 
fountain of memory, and caused a new light to dawn 
on mj mind — for I now think that if, during the peri- 
od of gestation with my first children, my work had 
been less exhausting, and my mental faculties more 
exercised, they might have been born with stronger 
constitutions and more active minds." 

There is not a doubt of that in my mind, but has it 
never occurred to you that woman is the only created 
being that is liable and often necessitated to labor be- 
yond her strength during the period of which we are 
speaking. Nature, however, is a good accountant, 
and never allows herself to be defrauded ; the parent 
who is blind to her behests in this regard, will never 
experience the exquisite pleasure of feeling proud of 
his children. 



It is a common saying with superficial observers, 
that marriage is a lottery, in which the chances are 
about equal for bhmks or prizes; and also, that the 
moral and intellectual capability of children cannot be 
predicted with any degree of certainty ; as their good 
or evil qualities, are the effects of causes, over which 
the parents have no control. 

Here is an instance of the fallacy of such unsound 

A young married lady became much interested in 
the, to her, new views on human progress, disclosed in 
the " Parents' Guide to the Transmission of Intellectual 
and Moral Qualities." Its facts and arguments ap- 
peared reasonable and logical ; its theory philosophi- 
cal and beautiful ; and she thanked God for the privi- 
lege of testing its truths. Therefore, from the earliest 
period of her hopes of maternity, she kept her Divine 
Mission in view, and governed herself accordingly 
She endeavored to cultivate a cheerful disposition, — ■ 
to indulge in no sentiments that were unkind or un- 
charitable,-— to keep out of the way of all unpleasant 
Bights or sounds, — to subdue nervous irritability, and 


impatience, — to fill lier mind with images of grace and 
beauty, — to live in harmony with all her surroundings, 
— and then leave the rest to God. With His blessing 
on her efforts, she could with confidence look forward 
to her reward, in the birth of a new Immortal, that 
should bear witness to the truths of His Divinel}^ in- 
stituted laws of human progress. Nor was she disap- 
pointed ; for this child is, at the age of five years, all 
that a cultivated, refined, and affectionate mother 
could desire. Bright, active, and intelligent, — beauti- 
ful, pure, and innocent as an angel, he promises to be- 
come the pride, as he is now the joy of his parents. 
His future good conduct can be confidently relied on, 
• — more especially, as his parents come of good stock, 
and have improved the advantages of a superior edu- 
cation. High mental culture, therefore, will be of 
easy acquisition by their son. 

There is a saying among the ancients, that, "Whom 
the gods love die young." There may be more sig- 
nificance in this, than meets the eye. According to 
the popular belief of the ancients those whom the 
gods loved, they endowed with genius, — with mental 
and physical graces which are generally manifested 
through a delicately sensitive organization. Now it is 
well known that children thus constituted, are more 
susceptible to surrounding influences, than those in 
whom the animal and vital nature predominate ; hence, 
they would be most likely to die young. There are, 
it is well known, many medicinal remedies, and some 
common articles of food, that may be given with iuipu- 
uity to the children of the laboring classes, in whom the 
uervous system is subordinate to the vital, — but which 


would destroy those whose parents had transmitted tc 
them a finely susceptible organization. Doubtless 
many children of the latter class, (to which the gifted 
one above referred to belongs,) are daily sacrificed , to 
a want of knowledge on this subject. Not until some 
preparation for parenthood is made indispensible to 
the education of youth, will this " Slaughter of the 
Innocents" cease 1^ 

A friend related to me to the following instance of a 
remarkable musical genius, which was not inherited, 
but produced by the influence of music upon the 
imagination of the mother, during the period of ges- 

A sister-in-law of my husband, whom I had never be- 
fore seen, came from St. Louis to make us a visit. She 
brought with her a little daughter about five years of 
age, who possessed a most extraordinary talent for 
music. She would run her fingers over the keys of the 
piano, and produce the sweetest harmony, which, when 
accompanied by her voice might move the heart of a 
stoic, by its tender sensibility. Knowing that this 
talent had not been inherited from the father, or any 
of his family, I asked the mother if she herself was a 
proficient in music. 

"I am not," she replied, "but I believe that I im- 
pressed the child before she was born, with this speci- 
ality. During the whole period of gestation, I occu- 
pied appartments adjoining those of a lady who taught 
music, and was in the habit of singing and playing 
every day. This constant practice, however, annoyed 

* See Appendix G. 


some of tlie other inmates, who made many efforts to 
have her removed from the house ; thej endeavored 
to persuade me to join them, — saying if I made a com- 
plaint, she would surely have to leave. This I declin- 
ed, for the reasons, that being among strangers, and 
my iiusband much from home, I frequently felt lonely 
and low spirited, — the music cheered and harmonized 
my mind ; and because her own support, and that of 
an infirm mother depended upon her respectable po- 
sition and success as a teacher. So instead of joiiiino- 
in that persecution, I made use of my influence to 
have her remain in the house ; and God has rewarded 
me, by bestowing upon my child the talents which I 
admired and protected in my neighbor." 

"ISTor is this all," she continued, " I believe that the' 
firmness exercised by me on that occasicn, tended to 
engender in the mind of my unborn child, a persistency 
of purpose that will be beneficial to her through life. 
For I should like to see the person who could induce 
her to relinquish that which she thought to be right, 
and just, — or to do anything that her conscience did 
not approve." 




Mrs. Shellt's Frankenstein might be considered an 
Allegory, typifying moral and intellectual monstrosi- 
ties of human creation. But if the parent could not, 
as in the case of Frankenstein, shake off or get away 
from the presence of the degraded being to whom he 
had given existence, there would doubtless have been 
a less number of monsters in human form brouglit in- 
to tlie world, to become a terror or a burden to so- 

The preceding reflection was suggested by a visit 
to the House of Refuge. The dishonest propensities 
of some of tlie inmates of this institution appear to be 
so thoroughly innate, that they are considered irre- 
claimable. Now this moral obliquity which lias 
blighted their lives, should awaken in us only senti- 
ments of pity and commiseration. For if the conduct 
and habits of the parents previous to, and during the 
ante-natal lives of the children, could be known, it 
would be found in many instances that they had 
been more sinned against than sinning. 

The following case will illusti-ate this view of the 


Some years since a friend of the writer had in her 
employ a man-servant, who was much above his class 
in point of ability and education. His only fault ap- 
peared to spring from an ovei'-active organ of acqui- 
sitiveness. The inconvenience arising from this spirit 
of greed was overlooked in consideration of his desira- 
ble qualifications as a butler. His wife, who was as 
avaricious as himself, kept house in the neighborhood 
— and it was well known derived her support from the 
store-room of the family. So long as the pilfering was 
confined to tlie mere necessaries of life, it was allowed 
to pass unnoticed. But when it was discovered that 
the man had betrayed the confidence reposed in him, 
and abstracted the most expensive wines from the 
cellar, as well as the delicacies of the larder, he was 
dismissed from his situation. During the many 
months in which this woman was luxuriating on the 
fruits of theft, and assisting her husband in his petty 
larcenies, she was transmitting thieving propensities 
to her unborn child. The result has proved that if the 
parents had deliberately designed to produce a dis- 
honest offspring, they practised the most certain me- 
thod to accomplish that end ; for all the native acute- 
ness of intellect which this child possesses is directed 
to dishonest purposes. 

The catalogue of books on the transmission of ten- 
dencies to physical diseases, would fill a volume — 
whilst those on the transmission of intellectual and 
moral maladies might be counted on the fingers, and 
are to be found principally in the reports of asy- 
lums and prisons. Occasionally, however, these 
truths are recognized by the best novelists of the day 


— and sometimes appear to be incidentally thrown ont 
amongst the Oriental pearls of Emerson, Holmes, and 
other wise men of the East. 

There are well known instances of the children of 
apparently worthy parents, who early manifest a vi- 
cious'^nd depraved disposition. These anomalies, ac- 
cording to the teachings of modern theology, are at- 
tributed to the doctrine of original sin ; but tested by 
the ever operative laws of cause and effect, they no 
longer remain enigmas. The following text of Scrip- 
ture may indicate a solution of some of these " dis- 
pensations of a mysterious Providence" — " Be sure 
your sin will find you out." 

Here is a case in point, the counterpart of which 
may be found within the circle of many persons' ac- 

A young gentleman, who possessed a good under- 
standing, and superior business qualifications, in his 
haste to become rich, allowed himself to be influenced 
in his choice of a wife by motives of worldly interest. 
"Not possessing a high standard of female excellence, 
nor any knowledge of the laws of hereditary descent, 
he paid no attention to the characteristics, or to the 
antecedents, of the family to which he allied himself. 
Considering the transaction from a mercantile stand- 
point, he was -satisfied that he had made a profitable 
investment of himself, — for his wife brought him 
wealth, position and influence, together with several 
other matters of minor importance, in the estimation of 
the worldly-minded,-^such as a feeble organization, a 
predisposition to hereditary insanity, — and children, 
who manifested at an early age decided proclivities to 


vice and sensuality. The existence of oneof their sons 
dated from a period of his father's life, marked by a 
rail-road speculation, in which he succeeded in trans- 
ferring the property of the widow and the orphan to 
his own overflowing coffers. Another son was born to 
him soon after a commercial panic, of which he availed 
himself, to stop payment, and buy up his liabilities at 
one-half their value. By this financial swindle, he 
doubled his capital, without injuring his reputation 
much, in the estimation of those who rate success 
in business, above integrity of character, or high moral 
principle. During the flood-tide of his prosperity, 
when he thought the world was made for his especial 
enjoyment, and indulged himself in every sensual 
pleasure, a daughter was born to him, who inherited 
her mother's weak intellect, and her father's strong 
propensities. Thus unfortunately constituted, she has 
to be kepi under strict surveillance, and has not yet 
found an opportunity to elope with a married man, 
nor to marry her father's coachman. 

This father had, owing to an occasional inward 
glance, or to the recollections of his own early expe- 
rience, formed a low estimate of youthful virtue. 
Therefore, in order to shield his sons from the temp- 
tations to which they would have been exposed in a 
large city, he sent them to one of the best institutions 
of learning, which the country afforded ; hoping, 
thereby to qualify them to enter one of the learned 
professions. But his ambitious hopes were doomed to 
bitter disappointment ; for his sons were found inca- 
pable, both mentally, and physically, of receiving a 
liberal education, — and their subsequent conduct has 


made manifest the truth- of the text, for the sins of the 
father have found him out. 

The tendency to fraud, untruthfulness, and decep- 
tion, appears also to be trnsmitted. Who cannot men- 
tion whole families of his acquaintance, whose veracit}^ 
must be taken at a discount? We talk of vice which 
runs in the blood, — certainly, when the fountain is 
corrupt, all the streams are more or less impure. 
" When the fathers have eaten sour grapes, the child- 
ren's teeth are set on edge," 

A young couple, previous to their marriage, were 
suspected of improper relations. The imputation was 
strenuously denied by the wife, who for several months 
subsequent to the union persisted in falsehood and 
prevarication in order to conceal her error. This evil 
habit not only stultified her own soul, but deeply 
tainted the young life that was drawing its being froin 
her own. Her unfortunate son, born a few months 
after marriage, has now reached the age of maniiood 
— but the confirmed habit of falsifymg seems to have 
become a part of his nature. His word can never be 
trusted — it appears a passion with him to prevaricate, 
to mis-state the simplest occurrence, and never to be 
straight-forward, frank, or open in any thing that he 
says or does. He is also extremely sensitive — is 
wounded to the quick by any exposure of iiis duplici- 
ty, so that his friends are forced to be constantly on 
their guard in order to save his feelings, and to pre- 
vent an almost insane suff'ering. His mother's family 
look upon this affliction as a Divine j udgment visited 
upon guilty parents. It has brought bitter sorrow to 
the household; and younger brothers and sisters, who 


are evenly balanced in mind and upright in cliarac- 
ter, cannot remove the grief caused by the unfortu- 
nate organization of their eldest son. 

A woman who had inherited an unconquerable pro- 
pensity to theft, was able to restrain the passion to a 
great degree ; yet there were times when she seemed 
overcome by her* weakness as by a species of insanity. 
Trading in a store where various articles were spread 
before her, she could not resist the temptation to pilfer 
a roll of tape, or a paper of pins ; yet she was in easy 
circumstances, and afterwards heartily ashamed — de- 
spising herself for her meanness and guilt. She edu- 
cated her children in habits of strict honesty, endeav- 
oring to impress upon their minds a horror of theft. 
Although their father was a man of unimpeachable 
honesty and integrity, yet this tendency to the mo- 
nomania of stealing descended as a most powerful in- 
stinct to several of her children. One of them ac- 
knowledged that there were times when she could not 
go into the parlor of a friend without the thought 
crossing her mind — how easy it would be to secrete 
some of the ornaments in the room, — that the very 
thought of such meanness was extremely repulsive to 
her, yet she could not prevent its recurrence. This 
tendency, in various forms, had tortured her more or 
less all through life ; yet she was too high-minded to 
3neld to such degrading suggestions. She justly re- 
garded it as a fatal hereditary weakness, which could 
only be overcome by successive generations of integ- 
rity of conduct. 

This is not an isolated case. The tendency to petty 
larceny among women of even great respectability is 


often remarked by merchants. It is considered much 
less safe to trust them with a variety of small mer- 
chandise than it is to trust men. The latter have oth- 
er ways and opportunities of overreaching and de- 
frauding, but women have little business dealings out- 
side of their own families, except in shopping. A 
merchant told me that some of his best lady-customers 
had from time to time been seen to take small articles 
secretly, yet he dared not think of speaking of it, as 
it would ruin his business, and create scandal unne- 
cessarily. Every now and then some case of this 
kind is dragged before the public, to the bitter mor- 
tification of friends and relatives. 

ivecently I have come to regard this light-fingered 
tendency among the lovers of shopping as a species of 
moral mania. A mother who has yielded to its hu 
miliating influence is almost certain to leave the in- 
stinct in the same direction, impressed upon her child, 
Then like circumstances produce a like vice. 



In the first part of this work, published twenty 
years ago, examples were given of various remarkable 
persons who inherited their strong mental traits from 
the mother. I am now able to cite other examples in 
which hereditary intellectual qualities have descended 
directly from the father. Probably as many instances 
can be adduced on the one side as on the otlier. — 
Doubtless in every instance it will be found that the 
peculiarities of both parents were merged in the child, 
each contributing to the rare combination of the new 

Blaise Pascal, "perhaps the most brilliant intellect 
tjhat ever lighted on this lower world," was the son of 
a French savan. His father was one of the finest 
scholars, and especially one of the best mathemati- 
cians of his time — and the splendid gifts of the son 
seemed like a direct inheritance from the sire. 

Young Pascal lost his mother at a very early age. 
We know very little of her. Few women at that pe- 
riod were eminent in history. But we are told that 
she was descended from the best families in the prov- 
ince of Auvergne, on the side of both father and mo- 


ther. A long line of cultivated ancestry was needed 
to perfect this wonderful child. 

From early childhood young Pascal's brilliant men- 
tal powers were the admiration of the age. Unfortu- 
nately, however, from the effect of intense application, 
his health failed before he arrived at manhood, and 
after a life of pain and suffering, he died at the early 
age of thirty-six. Pity there were none to teach liim 
the laws of life and health ! '' The murder of the In- 
nocents" has always been countenanced by admiring 
friends, as well as by a perverted public sentiment. 

Another instance in w^iich a special talent appears 
to have descended directly from the father, may be 
found in the Bonheur family of France. 

Kosa Bonheur, by her pre-eminent genius, has made 
her name a household word in all civilized countries. 
She has, however, two brothers — one a sculptor and 
the other a painter — who have already obtained much, 
celebrity as artists, and also a sister who superintends 
the Free School of Design for Girls in Paris. 

The father of this gifted family was himself an art- 
ist, and although neither great in art, nor wealthy nor 
successful, yet he has transmitted his own talents in- 
creased many-fold to his children. 

We are told that the genius of the Bonheurs was 
derived from the father, and this was supposed to be 
the end of the matter. No one speaks of the mother ; 
one cannot learn any thing of her or of her history. — • 
Yet the laws of mental inheritance are sufficiently es- 
tablished to enable us to venture the assertion that the 
mother, too, must have been a woman of fine powers, 
of fine qualities of temperament, which combining 


with the talents of the father, have re-appeared in the 
children and given them genius. 

We have an illustration of this at home, in our 
great family of marked and rather eccentric geniuses, 
the Beechers. Thej are all most unmistakably ' chips 
of the old block.' The grain and fiber of Beecherism 
is in every one of theai. Yet the children of the 
first mother differ from those of the last ; and the two 
most popular and brilliant members of the family — 
Stowe, and Henry Ward — were born when their pa- 
rents were in the fullest maturity, use, and confidence 
of their powers. 

The late Theodore Parker is another example of 
strong and sturdy manhood, inherited from a likQ an- 
cestry. He was descended in a direct line from the 
Puritan settlers of the Massachusetts colony ; his an- 
cestors, almost without exception, having been farmers 
and mechanics, and usually active participants in the 
military affairs of their day. His grandfather, John 
Parker, was a zealous friend of liberty, and was cap- 
tain in the battle of Lexington. His father was a 
millwright and pump-maker, a man of robust habits 
and sturdy sense, a great reader, fond of mathematics, 
with which branch of science he was well acquainted 
— an independent thinker — a Unitarian in belief, and 
possessing remarkable powers of expression and argu- 
ment. His mother was a highly cultivated woman for 
that day — a model of personal beauty, fond of litera- 
ture, and with an enthusiastic taste for poetry. 

Here was the son of many brave and hardy genera- 
tions, reproducing and intensifying in himself the 
marked family traits. Here also is another victim of 


violated law. It is said that he was accustomed tc 
tlie most prolonged stiidj, sometimes averaging fifteen 
hours a day — study too of the most exhaustive kind, 
varied by fatiguing journeys to lecture ; add to this 
the effort of speaking every Sunday in an immense 
hall — no wonder that he died at fifty, though he ought 
to have lived to eighty. 

John Quincy Adams was probably the most re- 
markable instance of transmitted mental traits of cha- 
racter to be found in the annals of this country. The 
following extract from the life of his father, John 
Adams, abundantly proves to what extent his great in- 
tellectual powers and his unimpeachable moral integ- 
rity were a direct inheritance. 

" In two things* he was favored above most men 
who have lived. He was bappily married to a wo- 
man whose character was singularly fitted to develope 
every good trait of his own ; with a mind capable of 
comprehending his, with affection strong enough to 
respond to his sensibility, with a sympathy equal to 
his highest aspirations, and yet with flexibility enough 
to yield to his stronger will without impairing her 
own dignity. In this blessed relation he was permitted 
to continue fifty-four years, embracing more than the 
whole period of his active life ; and it is not too much 
to say that to it he was indebted not merely for the 
domestic happiness which ran so like a thread of sil- 
ver through the most troubled current of his daj^s, but 
for the steady and unwavering support of all the high- 

* Says his Viographer, Charles Adams, the talented son of John 
Quincy Adams. 


est purposes of his career. Upon the several occasions 
when his action placed him in the most critical and dif- 
ficult positions, when the popular voice seemed loud 
in condemning the wisdom or the patriotism of his 
course, her confidence in his correctness seemed never 
to have wavered for a moment. Not a trace of hesita- 
tion or doubt is to be seen in her most confidential 
communications ; on the contrary, her voice in those 
cases came in to reinforce his determinations, and to 
urge him to persevere. Often she is found to have 
drawn her conclusions in advance ; for several of her 
letters bear on tlie outside the testimony of her hus- 
band's admiration of her sagacity. The soothing efi'ect 
this must have had upon him when chafed as his tem- 
per frequently was by the severe friction to which it was 
exposed in the great struggles of his life, may easily 
be conceived. An ignoble spirit would have thrown 
him into depression ; a repining and dissatisfied one 
would have driven him frantic. Hers was lofty, yet 
cheerful ; decided, yet gentle. Whilst she understood 
the foibles of his character and yielded enough to 
maintain her own proper authority, she never swerved 
from her admiration of his abilities, her reliance upon 
the profoundness of his judgment, and her pride in the 
integrity of his life. And if this was her state of feel- 
ing, it was met on his part by a devotion which never 
wavered, and a confidence scarcely limited by a 
doubt of the possibility of an error. A domestic re- 
lation like this compensated for all that was painful 
and afflictive in the vicissitudes of his career ; and its 
continuance to so late a stage in their joint lives left 


to the survivor little farther to wish for in this world 
beyond the liope of a reunion in the next. 

" The otlier extraordinary blessing was the posses- 
sion of a son, vt^ho fulfilled in his career all the most 
sanguine expectations of a father. From his earliest 
youth John Quincy Adams had given symptoms of 
nncommon promise, and contrary to what so frequently 
happens in such cases, every year as it passed over his 
head only tended the more to confirm the hopes that 
had been raised from the beginning. A friendly na- 
ture received from early opportunities of travel and 
instruction in foreign lands, not the noxious seeds 
which so often germinate to spread corruption, but a 
generous and noble development as well of the intel- 
lect as of the affections. At twenty years of age his 
father saw in him the outline of a full grown states- 
man, a judgment which time served only the more 
unequivocally to confirm. But it was not merely in 
the circumstances of his brilliant progress as a public 
man that his parents had reason to delight. As a son 
affectionate, devoted and pure, his parents never failed 
to find in him sources of the most unmingled satisfac- 
tion. In whatever situation he was placed, and how- 
ever far removed from them in the p»erformance of his 
duties, he never forgot the obligation he owed to soothe 
by every effort in his power the hours of their declin- 
ing years. The voluminous correspondence which 
was the offspring of this relation furnishes an affecting- 
proof of the tenderness and devotion of the son to his 
parents, and of their implicit trust and grateful pride 
in their child. And the pleasure was reserved to the 
father, rarely enjoyed since time began, of seeing his 


son gradually forcing his way by his own unaided 
abilities, up the steps of the same ascent wliere he had 
stood before him, until he I'eached the last and higliest 
which his country could supply. The case is unexam- 
pled in popular goverments. And when this event 
was fully accomplished, whilst the son was yet 
in the full enjoyment of his. great dignity so honorably 
acquired, it was accorded the old patriarch to go to 
his rest on the day alone, of all the days in the year, 
which was the most imperishably associated with his 
fame. Such things are not often read of, even in the 
most gorgeous pictures of mortal felicity painted in 
Eastern story. They go far to relieve the darker shad- 
ows which fly over the ordinary paths of life, and to 
hold out the hope that even under the present imper- 
fect dispensation, it is not unreasonable to trust that 
virtue may meet with its just reward." • 



De. LAYCOCKin his work on " Mind and Brain," says, 
" M. L'Abbe Frere Cannor, of the Cathedral of Paris, 
has lately formed a collection of ancient skulls sent to 
him from all parts of Europe ; and has deduced from a 
comparison of them, the general conclusion, that in pro- 
portion as the skulls belonged to an ancient and primi- 
tive race, in the same proportion the frontal region is 
flattened and the occipital developed. Such a conclu- 
sion if verified, would go far to establish the general 
law, that each of the successive generations of men 
adds something, however small, to the evolutions of the 
human mind ; and that amidst all the struggle of the 
races, and the decay of inferior tribes, a higher and 
nobler type of humanity is more and more devel- 

According to this conclusion, it follows, that if the 
son of many generations of highly educated ancestors, 
dies without leaving descendants, all the accumulated 
capability up to him is lost to the world, and he de- 
frauds the state of one of its most precious treasures, 
the continuation of the line of an improved race. 

If the sons of cultivated ancestors ought to marry 


in ordei to leave descendants for the good of their 
country — then why is not the same obligation in force 
in regard to the daughters ? The number of women of 
this class who remain single is much greater than that 
of the men. In the present state of fashionable 
society, superior intellectual culture or power, is no 
recommendation to candidates for matrimony, if unac- 
companied by wealth or high connection. Although it is 
a well established fact, that great men have almost in- 
variably been the sons of able mothers,* yet the mc^t 
gifted and capable women are frequently left in a state 
of celibacy. 

If, as the poet says, '' a bold peasantry's their coun- 
try's pride," then how infinitely more proud should a 
nation be of a population in which the moral and in- 
tellectual elements preponderate even among the la- 
boring classes.f Washington, Franklin, Adams, and 
a host of other great men, are the models on which 
our national character has been moulded, — the lever 
by which it has been elevated to its present position 
among the nations of the earth, — where, when this cup 
shall have passed away, it will stand, a haven to the 

* •' Tlie mother of John and Charles "Wesley — like so many mothers of 
eminent men — was remarkable for strong sense, high principle, deep 
pietj', uncommon natural talent, energy, and force of character. It is 
easy to prophesy after the event ; but one feels disposed to say, that 
the sons of such a woman could hardly turn out mere ordinary men." 
—North British Review, Feb. 1860. 

t It must be borne in mind, that one of the causes of the unusual 
mental activity which characterizes the American people, may be as- 
cribed to their constant mixture with other nat'ons. 



oppressed, and a warning to the oppressor, — wliere 
the magnificent problem of the practicability of self- 
government of an enlightened people shall be success- 
fully demonstrated, aud the rights of humanity vindi- 
cated, — and where the operation the democratic prin- 
ciple will no longer be considered an experiment, but 
a brilliant success. 

In the course of human progress it will indubitably 
become manifest, that a nation's wealth must be placed 
upon a more elevated basis than material interest. As 
humanity stands at the head of all else, — so must the 
political economist measure a nation's prosperity and 
stability, by its high standard of morality, both indi- 
vidually and collectively, — by its inherited tendencies 
to intellectual culture, — by its consequent refinement 
of manners, and advanced civilization, — and by its 
self-sacrificing efforts to succor tl^e oppressed, and to 
elevate, and strengthen, the weak and the lowly. 

Esquirol, one of the most profound writers that 
France ever produced, remarks, " that children whose 
existence dated from the horrors of the first French 
devolution turned out to be weak, nervous, and irrit- 
able in mind, extremely susceptible, and liable to be 
thrown by the least extraordinary excitement into 
absolute insanity." 

Such a result of maternity, performed under such 
circumstances, would be predicable to any mind suf- 
ficiently enlightened in natural laws, to appreciate the 
mother's ofiice, and its influence for good or evil on 
her child. These facts give proof of what would have 
been regarded seventy-five years ago, even by the 
most enlightened, as mere hypothesis^ and by those of 


average intelligence as insane or atheistic speculation. 
It is now well known that the Creator is not chai-geable 
with the idiots and the imbeciles, — few persons in our 
country at least, are yet dark enough to suppose that He 
punishes one human being by creating another, subject 
to the most fearful infirmities that can afflict humanity ; 
hence we are willing to acknowledge facts which we 
were wont to lay at His door, as the results of our own 
conduct and conditions. 

Great emotional influences brought to bear on a 
generation, will leave their consequences in good as 
well as in evil, — in power as well as in weakness, — in 
capacity for noble purposes, as well as incapacity, feeble- 
ness, and the conditions named by the French philoso- 
pher. Looked at from this point of view, the Ameri- 
can nation has something noble to expect, from its 
education of mothers, within the last twenty years, on 
the slavery question. The discussions which have ta- 
ken place showing its wrongs and its horrors, — the 
preparation which it has received through those discus- 
sions, to pass into dramatic form, and so seize upon 
woman's compassionate feelings, her inate sense of 
justice, by its vivid strictures of outraged humanity. 
The excitement produced by the publication of " Uncle 
Tom's Cabin," and the various anti-slavery novels 
which followed it in quick succession, have furnished 
ground whereon to predicate the downfair of Ameri 
can slavery, when the generations born under theii 
powerful appeals shall live and move the nation. 

Such experiences can no more be lost than seed 
sown in good soil can fail to return in due time. Na- 
ture forbids this waste ; and, whether we know it or 


not, they come back to us augmented in force, as the 
crop from the sower's grain. The complaint now is, 
tliat we have no men equal to the great emergency in 
which the nation finds itself. We are too far removed 
from the period of any really noble struggle. The 
men born of the E-evolutionary times have ]»assed 
away, and we have only such as sprang into life under 
the influences of prosperity and comfort that left the 
maternal powers stagnant, or worse, that pampered 
them with ease and luxury, making self-indulgence, 
rather than self-denial, the law of maternal life. We 
cannot have noble men or a noble people, unless the 
mothers of our nation are moved to noble purpo-es 
by something within or something without themselves 
that is adequate to that end. 

There is no greater fallacy than the common belief 
that circumstances make great men, although ad« 
vanced by the first IS'apoleon. Circumstances are all- 
important, but they must date back to the origin of 
life, as in his case. Circumstance is often opportunity 
to men, but the man of capacity must be there, wait- 
ing for the opportunity. No combination of circum- 
stances can make heroes of cowards, magnanimous 
men of self-seekers, nor patriots of those whose self- 
interest overrules all love of country or feelings of hu- 
manity! Opportunity only opens the way backward 
to such men ; they block the way of the car of progress, 
instead of lending aid to its forward movement. 

The great generations appear as the fruit of a gener- 
ous or earnest struggle for right among the nations 
where the mind of w-oman is sufficiently developed to 
^e a party in the struggle — as in the American Revo- 


lution, that also of the Dutch, so ably treated by Mr. 
Motley, who recognizes the woman's share in that 
fearful history, and to that of the French Eevolution, 
already referred to. There must, however, be a moral 
character to the struggle in order to produce its best 
effects on women ; for according to Esqiierol, mere 
bloodshed and horrors will reappear in feebleness and 
unsoundness in the succeeding generation ; but if the 
spirit manifested in the struggle be that of injustice 
and selfishness, then it may be a harvest from the 
dragon's teeth, such as we feel that England is sowing 
to-day to reap in humiliation hereafter. For our 
corn-laden Griswold she sent us her piratical crafts 
the Alabama and the Florida — acts for which she 
will find it difficult to escape "the coals of juniper and 
the arrows of the mighty " ! When the oligarchs cf 
England find themselves powerless before those who 
rise up against them, the nation may remember and 
become wiser by recollection that in our present strug- 
gle for an undivided nationality, she, recreant to her 
former principles, actually gave herself to a band of 
Iscariot desecrators of, and dealers in humanity. The 
mothers of her arrogant and privileged classes fold 
their robes about them and sit down in ease and indif- 
ference to-day— their children will do likewise ; but 
the mothers of the people, whose hearts throb at the 
mention of America (their land of promise), and beat 
more quickly on the receipt of good or bad news of 
our war, will reap the harvest of progress that will 
bless themselves and elevate their class to the true 
Christian standard of national character in the coming 



Novelties are always more or less attractive, be- 
cause they lead to nevp" thonglits or fresh sensations. 
"When, however, we meet a novel theory, which is 
likely to excite discussion among earnest men — to 
quicken observation in many departments of natural 
science, and to stimulate anew to widely different in- 
vestio^ations among the most learned, we can but hail 
it with rej'-icing. True or false, it is the precursor to 
the discovery of more enlarged truth. 

These thoughts have been suggested by the recent 
work of Darwin on the " Origin of Species." If the 
positions taken are not altogether new, yet they are 
for the first time stated upon the authority of a careful 
scientific basis, in a connected and well considered 
fiirm, by one widely and favorably known in the scien- 
tific world. The writer has thrown down his gauntlet 
— an elaborate argument, already sustained by many 
facts, and to be hereafter fortified, as he assures us, by 
an immense body of testimony which he has been for 
years carefully collecting, and which he thinks to an 
unprejudiced mind must be abundantly satisfactory. 
As his main position would overthrow the established 


creed of all leading naturalists, they of course must 
accept his challenge, and come to the rescue of their 
ancient landmarks. Hence, even though Darwin nnij 
have given to the world nothing but a splendid hypo- 
thesis, which shall prove hereafter to be unsustained 
by facts, yet all science will doubtless be benefited by 
the new impetus which he has given to investigation. 
It is refreshing to find any one who dares to thint 
boldly, originally, and yet conscientiously in any di 

But leaving the wise naturalists, who have devoted 
a lifetime to the subject, to settle among themselves 
the intricate problem of the " Origin of Species," let 
us briefly refer to a few of Darwin's positions, bearing 
more especially upon topics kindred with those which 
we have already considered in the present volume. 

If we are the lineal descendants of the fishes, at any 
rate they are ancestors so remote that we have lost 
much of our sympathy for those cold-blooded progen- 
itors. Our nearer kinsfolk can interest us more read- 
ily ; and we can more intelligently, perhaps more pro- 
fitably, consider the thousand related influences which 
render our natures kindred with theirs. 

Whether or not our author has really proved that 
species are only varieties, further developed by natu- 
ral selection into sufficient diversity of organism to be 
classed apart, and thus afterwards regarded each as a 
separate creation, may be a question. Agassiz will 
tell us that he has proved nothing of the kind ; and I 
leave the ground where learned doctors are so vigov- 
ously disagreeing, to consider merely the diversity of 
individuals and of varieties (considered as such) and 


tlieir causes. Here there is common ground, and tlie 
testimony of a careful observer may be of value. 

" When we look to the individuals of the same va- 
riety or sub-variety," says Darwin,* " of onr older 
cultivated plants and animals, one of the first points 
which strikes us, is, that they generally differ much 
more from each other, than do the individuals of any 
one species or variety in a state of nature. When we 
reflect on the vast diversity of the plants and animals 
which have been cultivated, and which have varied 
during all ages under the most different climates and 
treatment, I think we are driven to conclude that this 
greater variability is simply due to our domestic pro- 
ductions having been raised under conditions of life 
not so uniform as, and somewhat different from, those 
to which the parent species have been exposed under 
nature. There is also, I think, some probability in the 
view propounded by Andrew Knight, that this varia- 
bility may be partly connected with excess of food. 
It seems pretty clear that organic beings must be ex- 
posed during several generations to the new conditions 
of life to cause any appreciable amount of variation ; 
and that when the organization has once begun to va- 
ry, it generally continues to vary for several genera- 
tions. No case is on record of a variable being ceas- 
ing to be variable under cultivation. Our oldest cul- 
tivated plants, such as wheat, still often yield new 
varieties ; our oldest domesticated animals are still ca- 
pable of rapid improvement or modification. 

" It has been disputed at what period of life the 

* Page 14. 


causes of variability, whatever tliey may be, generally 
act ; whether during the early or late period of devel- 
opment of the embryo, or at the instant of conception. 
Geoffroy St. Hilaire's experiments show that nnnatiir- 
al treatment of the embryo causes monstrosities, and 
monstrosities cannot be separated by any clear line of 
distinction from mere variations. But I am strongly 
inclined to suspect that the most frequent cause of va 
riability may be attributed to the male and female re- 
productive elements having been affected prior to the 
act of conception. Several reasons make me believe 
in this ; but the chief one is tlie remarkable efPect 
which confinement or cultivation has on the functions 
of the reproductive system ; this system appearing to 
be far more susceptible than any other part of the or- 
ganization to the action of any change in the condi- 
tions of life. Nothing is more easy than to tame an 
anim;il, and few things more difficult than to get it to 
breed freely under confinement, even in the many ca- 
ses when the male and female unite. How many ani 
mals there are which will not breed, though living long 
under not very close confinement in their native coun- 
try ! This is generally attributed to vitiated instincts; 
but how many cultivated plants display the utmost 
vigor, and yet rarely or never seed ! In some few 
such cases it has been found out that very trifling 
changes, such as a little more or less water at some 
particular period of growth, will determine whether 
or not the plant sets a seed. I cannot here enter on 
the copious details which I have collected on this curi- 
ous subject; but to show how singular the laws are 
which determine the reproduction of animals under 

154 nrsBAND and wife ; or, 

confinement, I may just mention that carnivorous ani- 
mals, even from the tropics, breed in this country 
pretty freely under confinement, with the exception 
of the plantigrades or bear family ; whereas carnivor- 
ous birds, with the rarest exceptions, hardly ever lay 
fertile eggs. Many exotic plants have pollen utterly 
worthless, in the same exact condition as in the most 
sterile hybrids. When, on the one liand, we see do- 
mesticated animals and plants, though often weak and 
sickly, yet breeding quite freely under confinement ; 
and when, on the other hand, we see individuals, 
though taken young from a state of nature, perfectly 
tamed, long-lived and healthy, (of which I could give 
numerous instances,) yet having their reproductive 
svstem so seriously affected by unperceived causes as 
to fail in acting, we need not be surprised at this sys- 
tem, when it does act under confinement, actino^ no'' 
quite regularly, and producing offspring not perfectlj) 
like their parents, or variable. 

" Sterility has been said to be the bane of horticulture ; 
but on this view we owe variability to the same cause 
which produces sterility ; and variability is the source 
of all the choicest productions of the garden, 1 may 
add, that as some organisms will breed most freely 
under the most unnatural conditions, (for instance, the 
rabbit and ferret kept in hutches,) showing that their 
reproductive system has not been thus affected — so 
will some animals and plants withstand domestication 
or cultivation, and vary very slightly — perhaps hardly 
more than in a state of nature. 

" A long list could easily be given of ' sporting 
plants ;' by this term gardeners mean a single bud or 


offset, whicli suddenly assumes a new and sometimes 
very different character from that of the rest of the 
plant. Such buds can be propagated by graftmg, &c. 
and sometimes by seed. These ' sports' are extremely 
rare under nature, but far from rare under cultivation 
— and in this case we see that the treatment of the pa- 
rent has affected a bud or offset, and not the ovules or 
pollen. But it is the opinion of most physiologists 
that there is no essential difference between a bud 
and an ovule in their earliest stages of formation ; so 
that, in fact, ' sports ' support my view, that varia- 
bility may be largely attributed to the ovules or pol- 
len, or to both, having been affected by the treatment 
of the parent prior to the act of conception. These 
cases anyhow show that variation is not necessarily 
connected, as some authors have supoosed, with tho 
act of generation." 



To me, there is very much in wliat Darwin says of 
the " cause of variability " as often being " prior to 
the act of conception." Especially in a highly-organ- 
ized being like man, where the whole mental, moral, 
and physical constitution of both parents, and even of 
their progenitors, combine in the offspring, producing 
a marked union of characteristics, some of which are 
often directly traceable to each of the various ances- 
tors. It is beyond question, that neither the state of 
the parents, at the time of conception, nor the condi- 
tion of the mother previous to the birth, can always 
account for the very great diversities in the children. 

I have been profoundly impressed with the fact that 
the whole past characters of the progenitors are trans- 
mi table, though in ever variable combinations to their 
descendants ; and to find concurrent testimony, af- 
firmed by science, in its observations, even in the ani- 
mal and vegetable world, has much strengthened my 
faith in that direction. 

Darwin says, "The cause may have acted, and I be- 
lieve generally has acted, even before the embryo is 


formed ; and the variation may be due to the male and 
female sexual elements having been affected bj the 
C(mditions to which eitiier parent or their ancestors 
have been exposed. Nevertheless, an effect thus 
caused at a very ea^^lj period, even before the forma- 
tion of the embryo, may appear late in life ; as when 
a hereditary disease, wliich appears in old age alone, 
has been communicated to the offspring from the re- 
]3roductive elements of one parent."* He adduces nu- 
merous evidences in proof, which are of much weight ; 
as for example, peculiarly shaped horns in crossed 
breed cattle, which cannot appear until late in Jife, 
but which, when developed, resemble tliose of one of 
the parents, and proves that the peculiarity was in- 
herited, though for years it might remain unsuspected 
in the young animal. 

Peculiarities, tendencies, and diseases, are thus of- 
ten, perhaps, generally developed late in life ; although 
they are unquestionably hereditary, yet because the 
reward, or the penalty, is not early made manifest, 
people often refuse to believe in its existence. If 
there were time, and it were quite germain to the pur- 
pose, I might instance many curious facts stated by 
Darwin, to prove Ifchat an inherited tendency in the 
offspring more generally appears at about the age at 
which it first appeared in the parent, rather than at an 
earliei period of its existence; but I will merely refer 
to him as authority on that point, and turn to another 
portion of the subject. 

» Page 385. 


I again give bis own words.* " The number and 
diversity of inheritable deviations of structure, botli 
those of slight and those of considerable physiological 
importance is endless. Dr. Prosper Lucas's treatise in 
two large volumes, is the fullest and the best on this 
subject. No breeder doubts how strong is the ten- 
dency to inheritance : like produces like is his funda- 
mental belief: doubts have been thrown on this prin- 
ciple by theoretical writers alone. When a deviation 
appears not unfrequently, and we see it in the father 
and child, we cannot tell whether it may not be due 
to the same original cause acting on both ; but when 
amongst individuals apparently exposed to the same 
conditions, any very rare deviation due to some extra- 
ordinary combination of circumstances, appears in the 
parent — say once among several million individuals — 
and it re-appears in the child, the mere doctrine of 
chances almost compels us to attribute its re-appear- 
ance to inheritance. Every one must have heard of 
cases of albinism, prickly skin, hairy bodies, &c., ap- 
pearing in several members of the same family. If 
strange and rare deviations of structure are truly in- 
herited, less strange and commoner deviations may be 
freely admitted to be inheritable. Perhaps the cor- 
rect way of viewing the whole subject would be to 
look at the inheritance of every character whatever as 
the rule, and non-inheritance as the anomaly. 

" The laws governing inheritance are quite un- 
known ; no one can say why the same peculiarity in 
different individuals of the same species is sometimes 

* Page 18. 


inherited and sometimes not so ; why the child often 
reverts in certain characteristics to its grandfather or 
grandmother, or other much more remote ancestor ;* 
why a peculiarity is often transmitted from one sex to 
both sexes, or to one sex alone, more commonly but. 
not exclusively to the like sex." 

The abundant facts adduced by this writer make his 
opinions on these points of great weiglit. ISTo two in- 
dividuals are ever quite alike. Nature never repeats 
herself; yet she always works through means. If she 
tends always, as Darwin thinks, through the principle 
of "natural selection" to strengthen every part which 
can best subserve the uses of the individual, to foster 
the strongest, and to add to his strength, to strive con- 
tinually to perfect her work, mail, also, by studying 
her methods and co-working with her to produce simi- 
lar results, may continually increase every upward 

* One of the perturbing influences of direct inheritance, according to 
Mr. Lewis, is what is known as atavism, or ancestral influence. " This 
phenomenon is to be explained on the supposition that the qualities 
were transmitted from the grandfather to the father, in whom they 
were masked by the presence of some antagonistic or controling influ- 
ence, and thence transmitted to the son, in whom, the antagonistic in- 
fluence being withdrawn, they manifest themselves. A man has a re- 
markable aptitude for music ; but the influence of his wife is such that 
their children, inheriting from her imperfect ear, manifest no miisical 
talent whatever. These children, however, have inherited the dispo- 
sition of their father, in spite of its non-manifestation ; and if, when 
they transmit what in them is latent, the influence of their wives is 
favorable, the grandchildren may turn out to be musically-gifted. In 
the same way consumption or insanity seems to lie dormant for a gen- 
eration, and in the next flashes out with the same fury as of old. 
Atavism is thus a phenomenon always tu be borne in mind as one of tha 
many complications of this complex problem." 


tendency, both in liiinself and in all races of men, ani- 
mals and plants. This tact is of immense importance. 
While Nature, by herself, works slowly towards de- 
sirable ends, man, with his intelligence, by selecting 
the proper means, may immeasurably accelerate her 
work. His power in this direction, seenis without 
limit. Here is testimony on this point from our au- 
thor.* " Some little effect, may, perhaps, be attril)u- 
ted to the direct action of the external conditions of 
life, and some little to habit ; but he would be a bold 
man who would account by such agencies for the dif- 
ferences between a dray and a race horse, a greyhound 
and bloodhound, a carrier and tumbler pigeon. One 
of the most remarkable features in our domesticated 
races is that we see in them adaptation, not indeed to 
the animal's or plant's own good, but to man's use or 
fancy. Some variations useful to him have probably 
arisen suddenly, or by one step ; many botanists, for in- 
stance, believe that the fuller's teazle, with its hooks, 
which cannot be rivalled by any mechanical contrivance, 
is only a variety of the wild dipsacus ; and this amount 
of change may have suddenly risen in a seedling.— 
So it has probably been with the turnspit dog ; and this 
is known to have been the case with the ancon sheep. 
But when we compare the dray horse and the race 
horse, the dromedary and camel, the various breeds of 
sheep fitted either for cultivated land or mountain pas- 
ture, with the wool of one breed good for one purpose, 
and that of another for another purpose ; when we com- 
pare the many breeds of dogs, each good for man in 

* Page 33. 


very different ways ; when we compare the game-cock, 
go pertinacious in battle, with other breeds so little 
quarrelsome, with " everlasting layers " which never 
desire to sit, and with the bantam so small and ele 
gant ; when we compare the host of agricultural, cul- 
inary, orchard, and flower garden races of plants, most 
useful to man at different seasons, and for different 
purposes, or so beautiful in his eyes, we must, I think, 
look further than to mere variability. We cannot suppose 
that all the breeds were suddenly produced as perfect 
and as useful as we now see them ; indeed, in several 
cases, we know that this has not been their history. 
The key is man's power of accumulative selection : na- 
ture gives successive variations ; man adds them up in 
certain directions useful to him. In this sense he may 
be said to make for himself useful breeds. The great 
power of this principle of selection is not hypothetical. 
It is certain that several of our eminent breeders have, 
within a single life-time, modified to a large extent, 
some breeds of cattle and sheep. In order fully to re- 
alize what they have done, it is necessary to read sev- 
eral of the many treatises devoted to this subject, and 
to inspect the animals. Breeders habitually speak of 
an animal's organization as something quite plastic 
which they can model almost as they please. If I 
had space, I could quote numerous passages to this 
effect from highly competent authorities. Youatt, 
who was probably better acquainted with the works 
of argriculturists than almost any other individual, and 
who was himself a very good judge of an animal, 
speaks of the principle of selection as " that which en- 
ables the agriculturist, not only to modify the charac- 


ter of his flock, but to change it altogether. It is the 
magician's wand, by which he may summon into life 
whatever form and mould he pleases. Lord Somer- 
ville, speaking of what breeders have done for sheep, 
•says : — ' it would seem as if they had chalked out up- 
on a wall a form perfect in itself, and then had given 
it existence !' That most skilful breeder, Sir John Se- 
bright, used to say, with respect to the pigeons, that 
' he would produce any given feather in three years, 
bait it would take him six years to obtain the head and 
beak.' In Saxony the importance of the principle of 
selection in regard to merino sheep is so fully recog- 
nised, that men follow it as a trade : the sheep are laid 
on a table and studied, like a picture by a connoisseur ; 
this is done three times at intervals of months, and 
the sheep are each time marked and classed, so that 
the very best may ultimately be selected for breeding, 
•sf 4f *The same principles are followed by the horticul- 
turists ; but the variations are here often more abrupt. 
No one supposes that our choicest productions have 
been produced by a single variation from the aborig- 
inal stock. We have proofs that this is not so in some 
cases in which exact records have been kept ; thus to 
give a few trifling instances, the steadily increasing 
size of the common gooseberry may be quoted. We 
see an astoni.-hing improvement in many florist's 
flowers, when the flowers of the present day are com- 
pared with drawings made twenty or thirty years ago. 
When a race of plants is pretty well established, the 
seed-raisers do not pick out the best plants, but merely 
go over the seed-beds and pull up the * rogues,' as 
they call the plants that deviate from the propei 


standard. With animals tins kind of selection is, in 
fact, also followed ; for hardly any one is so careless as 
to allow his worst animals to breed." 

That which man can do, through choosing the right 
agencies, towards the best development of plants and 
animals, that also, and infinitely more, can he accom- 
plish for the benefit of his own species. Here, how- 
ever, he must work chiefly through his intellectual 
and moral nature. As humanity is immeasurably 
above all else on the earth, so the means of securing 
its best good are worthy and exalted. We must, 
however, bear in mind that all human improvement, 
while it cares for the body, must demand imperatively 
for the perfection of the soul. To this end, all else, 
according to the laws of tlie Creator, must become 
subservient ; and through these means will all superior 
mental and moral qualities become cultivated in our- 
selves, and be readily transmitted to our children. 

" I think," continues Darwin^ '* there can be little 
doubt that use, in our domestic animals, strengthens 
and enlarges certain parts, and that disuse diminishes 
them, and that such modifications are inherited." 

Here we have the whole secret of transmission. It 
is not the mere possession of remarkable faculties or 
qualities that will ensure their transmission, it is the 
exercise of them. Darwin gives many curious in- 
stances of the effects of use and disuse ; amongst 
which are the wingless beetles of Madeira, and the 
blind animals of dark caves. Of the latter he says : 

" It is well known that several animals of the most 
diflerent classes which inhabit the caves of Styria and 
Kentucky, are blind. In some of the crabs, the foot- 


stalk for the eye remains, though the eye is gone ; tho 
stand for the telescope is there, though the telescope 
with its glasses has been lost. As it is difficult to im- 
agine that eyes, tliongh useless, conld be in. any way 
injurious to animals living in darkness, I attribute their 
loss wlioUy to disuse." 

" Natural selection " has been gradually giving us 
gentler and more refined races of men. But culture 
here, as elsewhere, has stimulated every process. So 
would I quicken thought in this direction, would im- 
press upon parents — especially upon the young, wh» 
may be parents in the future — that all the qualities ot 
their being, even habits, tastes and tendencies, will be 
transmitted, with more or less modification, to their 

It has been my aim in this article to call attention 
to the acknowledged fact of the transmission of facul- 
ties ; and to suggest that by selecting our own stand- 
ards of virtue in any direction we may not only go far 
towards attaining them for ourselves, but towards be- 
queuthing them to posterity. As JSTature co-works 
with man in his lowest grade of effort, so will she as- 
sist him in all higher departments. She who fosters, 
protects, and strengthens the plant and the animal, 
will never forget her crowning glory — man. Yet, just 
as she strengthens the strong, and allows the weak to 
be overcome and to perish in her irrational kingdom, 
so will it be in the rational, to a fearful extent. 



" Philosophical and Physiological Treatise on ISTat- 
nral Inheritance," is the title of a work recently pub- 
lished in Paris, by a well known physician, P. Lucas. 

It is a book of great interest, containing fifteen hun- 
dred pages, illustrating its subject from a great variety 
of sources. This work treats especially of the trans- 
mission of the qualities of the mind producing the dis- 
position to commit all manner of vices and crimes 
against society ; it is however more suitable for the 
medical profession, than for the popular reader. 

After translating many pages on the transmitted ten- 
dency to robberies and murder, I discarded them as 
distasteful, — about as disagreeable, as so many pages 
from the " Eewgate Calendar" would have been, but 
the following instances will illustrate sufficiently my 
position. " It is commonly supposed," says Criron de 
Buzareingue, that J. Pousseau is not preserved from 
error, that iihildren are boiii without inclinations^ 
and that one system of education would suit all ; it is 
however certain, that we are born with the propensi- 
ties, as well as with temperament of those to whom we 
owe life, and it is often very diiticult to say of an infant 


who can only scream and cry, whether its impatience or 
its anger proceeds from colic, from transmitted and in- 
nate character, or from its own habits. Nature is often 
taken for an effect of education, and rough measures 
are resorted to, in order to repress in a feeble being, 
propensities of ancient date, which form part of its or- 
ganization. A child may be capricious and violent, be- 
cause its father and mother are so." 

" Does it not often happen," says Lavater, " that 
we find trait for trait in the son, the character, the 
temperament, and the greater part of the several quali- 
ties of the father, and how often does the character of 
the mother re-appear in her son, and that of the father 
in his daughter?" 

A child may inherit from his father, or his motlier, 
tlie most deplorable propensities. 

He may inherit from them an inclination to drunk- 
enness. Ciall speaks of a Russian family, of which the 
father and grandfather, both perished prematurely, 
victims to their inclination for strong liquor : the 
grandson manifested from the age of five years, the 
most decided taste for the same liquors. Griron de 
Buzareingue, speaks of families where this unfortunate 
taste is transmitied by the mothers. We find in Louis 
himself, two examples which tend to support this form 
of inl^eritance, which he is so obstinate in combatting: 
the first is that of a family of Yoitute, whose father and 
brother are passionately fond of good cheer and 
wine ; whilst Yoitute himself drinks nothing but 
water. The second is that of a family known person- 
ally to Louis ; the head, and some of the children of 
this family, inherit fjom the father, gout with drunk- 


enness. Louis denies transmission in these cases, on 
the sole plea, that all the children had not tlie same 
inclinations; this is but one error the more, in his 

Drunkenness transmitted throngli families, may be 
allied to predispositions worse than even gout itself. 
Dr. Morean cites a case where this propensity is united 
in a young man, to insanity ; the patient had no mad- 
men in his family, but his father had the habit of intoxi- 
cation ; the son had not like him, abused the use of 
liquor, but every time that he was afflicted, he evinced 
a singular inclination to give himself up to it. A 
judicial journal relates a case still more deplorable. 
There were four brothers, all of them addicted to the 
most licentious drunkenness ; the eldest of the family, 
tlirew himself into the water, and was drowned, the 
second hung himself, the third cut his tliroat with a 
razor, and the fourth threw himself from a tliird-story 
window, and only survived the injuries which this fall 
occasioned him, to be taken for excesses and violences, 
before the assizes. 

The inheritance of an inclination to drunkenness, 
degenerated with them, into a mania for suicide. 

" One of the pathological characteristics of drunken- 
ness," says Professor Lucas, " is a certain degree of per- 
version, and a suspension of sense and intelligence. 
Drunkards see badly, do not perceive well, do not un- 
derstand well, and comprehend no better than they 
understand or perceive. Children begotten in this state 
of mental stupidity and momentary obscurity of in- 
telligence, are often born imbeciles, or complete 

* See Appeudis J, 


" However difficult it may be, " says Hofland, " to 
collect facts in this regard, I shall nevertheless, be able 
to produce some examples of children engendered in 
drunkenness, who have remained idiots all their lives. 
According to Esquirol, an idiot named Brickton, was 
born of a mother, well educated, but her husband was 
an habitual drunkard. Some mothers of idiotic chil- 
dren have affirmed to Edward Sequin, that their hus- 
bands were in a decided state of drunkenness, at the 
moment of conception. A wife of Monistrol had three 
fine children; she suddenly abandoned herself to a 
frenzied passion for stimulants, and drunkenness be- 
came with her a confirmed habit ; the children to 
whom she afterwards gave birth, were stunted, devoid 
of vig<r, of disagreeable form, vacillating gait, torpid 
intelligence, of a low organization, and all of them 
died early. According to Koech, if in conception, 
drunkenness joins its influence to that of the places 
where cretinism abounds, the children will not only 
be born idiots but cretins also." 

These herclitary evils of drunkenness were evidently 
well understood by the ancients. The Greeks have 
translated this belief into allegory. The deformity of 
Yulcan, is by them attributed to the drunkenness of 
his father Jupiter, who indulged on one occasion too 
copiously in nectar. Diogenes said to a stupid youth, 
" Young man, thy father must have been very drunk, 
when thy mother conceived thee." 

" Although,'' says Galen, " nature struggles against 
the effects of our vices, and our follies, yet the prin- 
cipal evi s that attend upon a habit of drunkenness, 
are frequently t ansmitted from the parent to the 


child."* " The most common result exhibited by 
children procreated in this lamentable condition of 
the parents," says Hofaker, and Burbach, " is the al- 
most entire absence of natural sensibility."* 

The inheritance of insanity is of almost as ancient 
date as the disease itself. There is no writer on dis- 
eases, who has not observed it at tlie first glance cast 
upon that obscure and sad page of the history of hu- 
man afflictions. Some voices that have protested 
against it, are lost in the crowd of those who proclaim 

* Dr. Demeaux, wIlo it seems has had special occasions for making 
the necessary observations, has lately communicated a most important 
paper, to the Academy, on the subject of drunkenness. According to 
his observations, running over a space of twelve years, — and he re- 
ports no case in which he has not had the formal and absolute declara- 
tion of the parents, — children conceived when one or both of the parents 
were in. a state of drunkenness, are liable in a much larger proportion 
than others to epilepsy and idiocy. Of thirty -six epilej)tic persons, 
five (a large proportion) were absolutely conceived under this con- 
dition, while he reports several cases of idiocy, congenital paralysis, 
and other forms ofcerebral disease, which he traces to the same origin. 
Dr. Demeaux demands of the profession, that attention should be 
turned to this subject; and he promises for a future occasion, a more 
detailed accountof his own observations. — New York Daily Times. 

* " Dr. Turner," principal of the Asylum for Inebriates in Bing- 
hamton, " has demonstrated that many inebriates and perhaps near- 
ly all the class usually regarded as hopeless, are so from hereditary 
physical causes ; that they must be treated as the subjects of disease, 
and can be reached only by hygienic means. * * * The hereditary 
nature of the disease of inebriety is shown by the statistics of insanity. 
Eighty per cent, of more than a thousand cases of delirum tremens 
which came under the observation of Dr. Turner, were the cases of 
children of intemperate parents."— North American Review, April, 


it, and this melancholy truth in our day, finds but few 

There is no malady, says Foville, in which the ac- 
tion of transmission is better demonstrated, it is a point 
long since beyond question, and has taken its place 
amongst common notions. Illiterate witnesses are 
frequently heard to quote as an excuse for the acts of 
a culprit, and without being incited to it, the proofs 
of insanity, evinced by such and such a member of his 
family. Physicians in hospitals or asyhims expressly 
devoted to the treatment of this malady, often find 
symptoms of insanity in the relations of the patient 
who place him there. There are but few exceptions 
where it does not attack the whole family. All the 
male descendants of a noble family in Hamburg, and 
from the time of the great-grandfather, remarkable for 
great military talents, were at the age of forty, stricken 
with insanity ; there remained but one descendant, an 
officer like his ancestors, who was forbidden to marry 
by the senate of the city ; the critical age arrived, he 
lost his reason. Three members of a family entered at 
one time the hospital for the insane in Philadelphia. 
In the asylum at Hartford has been seen a maniac, who 
was the eleventh of his family. A lady of whom Moi-ati 
speaks, was the eighth ; her father, two brothers, two 
sisters, two cousins and an aunt, were stricken like her- 
self. Some two years since, the mental alienation of 
a whole family was seen in Brittany ; father, mother, 
sisters, and brothers, whom the evil attacked like a 

A lady of Cologne, young, robust, in good health, 
and at the time pregnant with her first child, saw a 


person fall at her feet in an epileptic fit ; liis convul- 
sions and cries terrified her ; some months later she 
was delivered, but it was not long before the child was 
attacked bj epilepsy, and died at the end of a year. 

The passion for gambling may be transmitted. A 
lady with whom I was acquainted, says the Chevalier 
Da Gamo Machado, enjoying a large fortune, had a 
passion for gambling, passing her nights at play ; she 
died but little advanced in years of a pulmonary dis- 
ease ; her eldest son resembled her perfectly, being 
equally devoted to gambling, and passing his nights at 
the gaming table, like his mother, he died of consump- 
tion, and almost at the same age ; his daughter inher- 
ited the same tastes, and died when still young. 



It is often remarked, says Dr. Spnrzheim, that cer- 
tain mental faculties have the dominion in entire fam- 
ilies. There is no order of talent where tlie celebrity 
of a family does not attest it. The art of oi'atory was 
so natural among the Hortensios, the Curios and the 
Selius, that it seemed to be transmitted from one to 
tlie other, and to be diffused even amongst the wo- 
men. Hereditary political genius and eloquence are 
seen later in the Medici, and in the Pitt families. — 
Three women, all celebrated for their extraordinary 
intelligence in philosophy, and for the richest gifts of 
speech, Hypatia, Arete, and Madame de Stael, all had 
philosophers for fathers : the daughter of Neckar has 
almost caused her father to be forgotten. Mirabean 
the father, was repeated in Mirabean the Tribune. A 
more serious study of the " Friend of Man," shows in 
a strong light, what depth, originality and range of 
mind there was in this writer, whose singular genius 
was eclipsed in repeating itself, under a still more stri- 
king type, by that of his son. Another man, whose 
name shines with a celebrity as strange in a different 
way, was Michael JSTostradamus, that popular prophet 


of the sixteenth century, Doctor and Professor of Me- 
dicme at Montpelier — a man truly extraordinary, and 
to whose science his adversaries themselves have 
rendered justice ; he gloried in being descended from 
a tribe renowned for the gift of prophecy. His pater- 
nal and maternal grandparents were celebrated physi- 
cians ; his son Caesar was at once a good poet, an ex- 
cellent painter, and an able historian. 

Antiquity counts no less than eight tragic poets in 
the family of Eschylus. The same kind of talent is re- 
marked in the family of Tasso ; Bernardo Tasso, the 
father of Torquato, possessed the gift of poetry, of 
which his son had the genius. The poetry of Eacine 
lived again, without doubt less fruitful and less in- 
spired, but still recognizable, in the verses of his son. 

Facts of inheritance abound in sculpture, painting, 
and the musical art. The illustl-ious German Pilon, 
whose name has been given to one of the fine galleries 
at the Louvre, which bear the name of the French 
sculptors, was the son of a very distinguished sculp- 
tor of Mentz. It was in the studio of his fatlier that 
he imbibed the elements of the art. John Flaxman, 
a celebrated English sculptor, the author of the most 
remarkable bas-reliefs of Covent Garden theatre, and 
of several monuments at Chichester and Westminster, 
was the son of a modeler of figures in plaster. The 
rival of Canova, Albert Thorswalden, who was strick- 
en by death in his native city in the midst of his glb- 
ry, was the son of a poor sculptor, Gotschal k Thors- 

Among painters, we see the father of Raphael, him- 
self a painter. The mother of Yan Dyke had a remark 


able talent for painting flowers. Le Parmegiano lost 
his father when still young, but his uncles were paint- 
ers. Yan Loo was the brother, the grandson, and the 
great-grandson of painters. The two younger brothers 
of Titian, his son, his nephew and grandnephew, were 
alike painters. Horace Yernet is the sou of Charles 
Yernet, of such rare talent in painting horses ; and he 
is the grandson of that Joseph Yernet so celebrated 
for his marine views ; his brother, although a book- 
seller, had a true passion for painting, and it is said 
that there are paintings of his which have been taken 
for those of his brother. 

The same succession of musical genius is remarked 
in families : the father of Mozart was a violinist of 
reputation, and the sister of the illustrious composer 
had, like her brother, displayed the most precocious 
talent for music. He left two sons ; one of them is 
director of music at Lemburg. Beethoven was the son 
of a tenor : quite a crowd of composers have appeared 
in the family of John Sebastian Bach, a man of high 
musical celebrity. 

Ihe influence of the father over all the elements 
and all the forms of the mental faculties, is very de- 
cided : elevation of mind, vigor of intelligence, elo- 
quence, poetry, music, sculpture, painting, every kind 
of tendency and every type of talent may in some 
manner radiate from his mind into those of his chil- 
dren. To the preceding examples which we hav 
given, we will add those of Dr. Johnson and Burns. 

The father of Dr. Johnson, says bis enthusiastic 
biographer, Boswell, was a tall and robust man : he 
had a great compass of intelligence, and a very power- 


ful activity of mind ; nevertheless, as in the hardest 
rock corrupt veins are found, he had in him a tinge of 
that evil whose nature escapes the most minute invest- 
igation, although its effects may he but too well 
known to make it the torment of life. It manifested 
itself in him in a profound distaste for all the pni-suits 
which move the greater part of humanity, and his 
mind was wholly under the dominion of an incessant 
melancholy: under a more sombre and original form 
Johnson inherited this melancholy, and in him it was 
almost transformed into insanity. He was crazy all his 
life, without being any the less wise. The mother of 
Johnson was a woman of superior intelligence, and it 
is said of her that well as she certainly knew his merit 
she had too much sense to be vain of him. 

Burns, who had, like Dr. Johnson, a decided inclin- 
ation to melancholy and a hypochondriacal tempera- 
ment, also owed to his father the force, and at the 
same time the physical and moral irritability of his 
organization. In features and address he bore a strange 
resemblance to his mother ; it is from her he inherited 
the passion for ballads and popular songs — germs of 
his future greatness as a poet. 

The biographies of the most celebrated men abound 
with similar facts, but daily observations are as in- 
structive on this point, and the proofs of the inherit- 
ance of intellectual disorders are so decisive that they 
do not admit of the slightest doubt. There is no fam- 
ily where the intellectual type of the father is not re- 
peated in different degrees in the children. 

History, says Girou, furnishes an infinity of exam- 
ples of the moral resemblance of the father to the 


daughter, and of the mother to the son. Amongst or- 
ators and political men, Cleobiilus of Khodes, Antipa- 
ter, Selius, Hortentiiis, Cicero, Cato ; among kings 
and emperors, Caligula, Charlemagne, Alphonso IX., 
of Castile, Philip L, Louis XII., Henry IL, of Yalois, 
J<jhn IL, of Navarre, Henry YIIL, of England, 
Henry lY., Gustavus Adolphus, &c., are repeated in 
their daughters. Olympias, Cratesopolis, Cornelia, 
Livia, Faustina, Loemia, Fredegonde, Margaret of 
Erabant, Charlotte of Savoie, Berengaria, Blanche, 
Urruca, Catherine de Medici, Marie de Medici, Anne 
of Austria, and the wife of Cromwell, in her son. We 
might add to to the latter the mother of the two Che- 
niers, of Goethe, "Walter Scott, ^Napoleon, and per- 
haps that of the King of Kome. Is it not singular to 
find in the greater part of the women who amongst the 
ancients have shone for intelligence and philosophy, 
so many living echoes and softened rays of the genius 
of their fathers ? It was unto Myia, Arignote, and 
Damo, his daughters, that the soul of Pythagoras 
passed. The first enjoyed a great celebrity ; the writ- 
ings of the second still existed at the time of Porphy- 
rus ; and it was to Damo that Pythagoras entrusted 
all his writings. Hypatia, whose knowledge and ge- 
nius awoke at once the admiration, the love, and the 
jealousy of men, was the daughter of Theon, a famous 
philosopher, geometrician and mathematician of Alex- 

The principal portion of Professor Lucas's book is 
devoted to the consideration of inherited tendencies to 
physical disease, and all its concomitant evils. We 
will, in the next chapter, endeavor to show the value 


an I the importance of high health, both for ourselves 
and for our children. To many, it ma}^ appear a work 
of supererogation, while others will accept thankfully 
the thoughts of the best writers of the age on the sub- 



" Without health, an actual blight rests on the pow- 
ers both of body and mind. Such is the intimate con- 
nection between them, that if the one is disturbed, the 
influence is reflected on the other. Sound thinking is 
dependent upon the soundness of the body. The brain, 
the medium through which the soul of man receives 
its impressions from without, and eliminates its 
thoughts from within, is a material part of this body. 
From this great nervous centre are poured forth the vi- 
tal streams of health. There, no doubt, are first made 
the impressions, which disturb, derange, and direct 
the healtliy action."* 

" Health," says Carlyle, " is a great matter both to 
the possessor of it, and to others. On the whole, that 
humorist in the moral essays, was not so far out, who 
determined on honoring health only ; and so instead 
of humbling himself to the highborn, to the rich and 
well dressed, insisted on doffing his hat to the healthy : 
coronetted carriages with pale faces in them, passed 
by as failures, miserable and lamentable, trucks with 

* Dr. Bajard. 


ruddy cheeked health dragging at them were greeted 
as successful and venerable ; for does not health mean 
harmony, the synonym of all that is true, jnstly or- 
dered good ; is it not in some sense the net total, as 
shown by experience, of whatever truth is in us? The 
healthy man is a most meritorious product of nature, 
as far at he goes. A healtliy baby is good ; but a soul 
in right health, — it is the thing beyond all others to be 
prayed for; the blessedest thing that earth receives of 
Heaven. * * * The healthy soul discovers what 
is good and adheres to it, and retains it, discerns what 
is bad, and spontaneously casts it off. An instinct 
from ]^ature herself, like that which guides wild ani- 
mals of the forest to their food, shows him what he shall 
do, and what he shall abstain from. The false and the 
foreign will not adhere to him ; cant and all fantastic 
diseased incrustations are impossible. This thing canst 
thou work with and profit by, this thing is substantial 
and worthy ; that other thing, thou canst not work 
with, it is trivial and inapt ; so speaks unerringly the 
inward monition of /nan's whole nature. * * -J?- * 
Blessed is the heahhy nature, it is the coherent, 
sweetly cooperative, not incoherent, self-distracting, 
self-destructive one I In the harmonious adjustment 
and play of all the faculties, the just balance of one's 
self, gives a just feeling towards all men and all things. 
Glad light from within radiates outwards, and enlight- 
ens and embellishes." 

" The physical evils of commercial life," Thrakrah 
says, " would be considerably reduced if men reflected 
that the sucess of business may be prevented by the 


very means used to promote it. Excessive application 
and anxiety, by disordering the animal economy, 
weaken the mental powers. Our opinions are affected 
by the states of the body, and our judgment often per- 
verted. If a clear head be required in commercial 
transactions, a healthy state of the body is of the first 
importance, a healthy body is incompatible with ex- 
cessive application of mind — with the want of exercise 
and fresh air." 

A strong mind can never work well in a weak body. 
Its efforts must be fitful and capricious, probably un- 
healthy. " Intellect," says the Rev. D. A. Wasson, 
" in a weak body, is like gold in the pocket of a spen 
swimmer, the richer he would be, under other circum- 
stances, by so much the more is his danger now." The 
mind has a powerful sovereignty over the body ; it can 
nerve it to a most superhuman effort, when occasion r^- 
cpiires; but this power is only transient, — the frail body 
will be broken by the force within — exhausted by the 
ceaseless activity, — and fretted away by the restless 
chafing of the strong spirit. 

Healthy men with great muse alar frames and hardy 
good sense, but illiterate and undisciplined in mind, 
have been better workers in the world than our sickly 
scholars. " It is true," says Dr. A. Gr. Howe, " that 
the real nobles, the class of veritable leaders of man- 
kind, has to be recruited every now and then by de- 
scending into the great bosom of the people, and fetch- 
ing np from thence, fresh spirits full of native enei'gy, 
to supply its own exhaustion ; and it rises from every 
fall to the earth, Antseus-like, fresher and stronger than 
ever. But it will always be seen that the mighty men 


who rise np from among the laboring class are not 
born of parents who were over-worked, and that they 
have not been over-worked themselves; that circum- 
stances have favored the exercise of a brain and a ner- 
vous system which were naturally vigorous, and that 
often they have preserved the happy mean of moderate 
exercise of mind and body." In this country where 
intellectual life is free to all, this is the rule. Yet gen- 
erations of culture are of incalculable importance. 
How muv-h will be achieved then, when the whole be- 
ing is developed and strengthened in harmony ? 

" All through the life of a pure-minded, but feeble 
bodied man," says Horace Man, " his path is lined 
with Memory's gravestones, which mark the spots 
where noble enterprises perished for lack of physical 
vigor to embody them into deeds." Poor Horace 
Man is himself an illustration of his own statement. 
He died in the prime of life, because his physical sys- 
tem wa& not strong enough to keep pace with the 
mental. It succumbed in the effort; and bis own last 
great enterprise, the upbuilding of a noble institution 
of learning for the sons and daughters of the people, 
was left to struggle with difficulties in the very in- 
fancy of its existence. 

There is no other civilized nation which is so regard- 
less of health as our own ; probably no other so indif- 
ferent to exercise, to food, to recreations that will 
strengthen, protect and invigorate the system. Until 
lately, athletic sports and games were quite out of 
fashion here. Whilst the Frenchman danced, and the 
Englishman rode horseback, the American gentleman 
crossed his legs and dozed in his easy chair, dreaming 


of cash accounts, whether asleep or awake. While 
the English woman would take her constitutional walk 
of five or ten miles for her health's sake, the American 
would take an airing in her carriage, and make calls 
for fashion's sake. Little wonder that we have become, 
par eminence, the nation that "enjoys poor health " ! 
But " muscle is looking up " in democratic America as 
well as elsewhere. The evidences of this are not only 
to be found in our " Beuicia Boy," " Champion of the 
World ;" but in our gymnasiums, yacht races, pedes- 
trian excursions, skating parties, and above all, in the 
sledding and hoop rolling of our juveniles of both 
sexes ; and also in the multiplication of country resi- 
dences, country life, and intelligent gentleman farmers. 
Vigorous habits may hereafter be tolerated, and good 
health may finally become respectable, not necessarily 
attaching to itself the suspicion of coarseness or vul- 

Rev. T. W. Higginson says, " Our American saint- 
ship, also, is beginning to have a body to it, a ' Body 
of Divinity,' indeed. Look at our three great popular 
preachers. The vigor of the paternal blacksmith still 
swings the sinewy arm of Beecher ; Parker performed 
the labor, mental and physical, of four able-bodied 
men, until even his great strength yielded ; and if ever 
dyspepsia attacks the burly frame of Chapin, we fancy 
that dyspepsia will get the worst of it." 

In this age of progress we have also the " Mon ement 
Cure," imported, it is true, but rapidly becoming ac- 
climated. There is but one step between cure and 
prevention, and we are taking that also. One may see 
clearly that Movement Prevention is yet destined to 


become fashionable, especially among ladies of high 
culture. Fashion already has a laurel wreath for our 
skaters. She has decided it is better our girls should 
skate races with their brothers and win, than to vie 
with them in effeminacy, and probably fail, as they 
must, while men are born of effeminate mothers. 

I have heard of one father who defied fashion for his 
daughter's sake. This was years ago, and how much 
this one example may have done towards changing 
popular tastes, it would be a pleasant thing to deter- 
mine. " Harriet Hosmer," says Mrs. Ellet, " is the 
only surviving daughter of a physician, who, having 
lost wife and child by consumption, and fearing a like 
fate for the survivor, gave her horse, dog, gun and 
boat, and insisted upon an out-door life as indispensi- 
ble to health. A fearless horsewoman, a good shot, 
adept in rowing, swimming, diving, skating, Harriet 
Hosmer is a singular instance of what judicious train- 
ing will effect in conquering even hereditary taint of 

" Willingly as the active, energetic child acquiesced 
in her father's wishes, she contrived, at the same time, 
to gratify and develope her own peculiar tastes ; and 
many a time and oft, when the worthy doctor may ha\ e 
flattered himself that his darling was in active exer- 
cise, she might have been found in a certain clay-pit 
not very far from the paternal residence making early 
attempts at modeling horses, dogs, sheep, men and wo 
men, and any object which attracted her attention.' 
It has been well said, that the "triumphs of Rosa 
Bonheur and Harriet Hosmer grew out of a free and 


vigorons training, and tliey learned to develope mus- 
cle by using it." 

So the great ones of earth have defied the shallow 
customs which would have fettered them ; and in do- 
ing this, they found room for the unfolding of great- 
ness. No parlor-nursed child could have become a 
Bonheur or a Hosmer. 

It is not so germain to our subject to treat of educa- 
tion or habits subsequent to birth, as to indicate the 
effects of habits and constitutional tendencies in the 
parents upon the child yet unborn. Yet they are twin 
topics, almost inseparable, and equally important. 



I HAVE veiy little to suggest concerning the ordi- 
n^rj routine of study to which American children are 
subjected. Popular attention is already strongly en- 
listed in that direction ; yet I cannot refrain from a 
brief chapter upon the every-day unconscious influ- 
ences which are the great and permanent moulders of 
the cliaracter in every age. The theme is exhaustless ; 
but each needs to be stimulated in this direction, not 
merely for the benefit of the rising generation, but for 
his own good also, as our education is never finished. — 
at least " on this side of the cloud." 

Any suggestion which arouses the attention is itself 
a most powerful educator. It impresses itself upon 
the mind in colors more or less enduring, where it 
remains a fixed influence, which is never afterwards 
wholly destroyed. 

Mrs. Glass' famous receipt for cooking a hare begins, 
"First catch your hare." First give us the right or- 
ganization, or we cannot develope the right character.* 

* Tlie triitli of tiiis remark is illustrated by the well-known fact that 
at every examination of the cadets at West Point one-third of tho 
number are rejected as mentally or physically unqualified to pass the 
severe examination to which they are subjected. 


That children should be well-born is the first and the 
greatest consideration ; but one, it would seem, which 
produces the least influence upon mankind. In some 
instances, it looks indeed " as though Nature's jour- 
neymen had made men, and not made them well, they 
imitated humanity so abominably." 

It is wise to think largely of the ample wealth of 
old patrician blood, of the many virtues of a spotless 
lineage, inherited from a brave and noble ancestry of 
many generations. Yet if these born noblemen were 
educated plebeians, they would soon fall into the vul- 
gar ranks, like the finest garden flower when it is cast 
out to the neglect and dust of the wayside. There is a 
social atmosphere in which each one lives and breathes 
from his childhood up, which nourishes his growing 
character as the food he takes nourishes and builds up 
his physical system. 

The steadily refining influence of an elevated social 
life, will leave its deposit of fine gold upon the com- 
monest nature ; and the endless platitudes of silly and 
weak people will leave a strata of earthiness upon the 
brightest genius, if it be hampered by their compan- 
ionship. It is useless to fancy ourselves exceptions to 
this general rule ; for we all have more or less of the 
chameleon in our natures, and reflect the color of the 
light which shines upon us from an innate necessity. 
How else shall we account for the moral epidemics 
which from time to time overspread every country. 

If there are a few prophets who can see far beyond 
the times and are able to utter oracles for future ages, 
it is because they do not live in the present and feel 
its influences ; they live apart, in a world of their 


own — tlie Past ; from whom tliey can trace human 
progress from the remotest ages ; and from what has 
been, are able to infer w^hat will be : hence their faith 
in the future, which sometimes appears inspiration. — 
Not so, the people ; they are educated by tlieir asso- 
ciates and their surroundings. It would be as absurd 
to ridicule the flowers for blooming in tlie spring, or 
the trees for dropping their leaves in the winter, as to 
jeer at the popular tendencies of our fellow beings. — 
Our true wisdom consists in recognising and directing 
the social impetus which springs up so readily on all 
occasions — which becomes an enthusiasm in moments 
of excitement — a quiet sentiment in hours of calmness, 
and which, surrounding us like an atmosphere, every- 
where and at all times, is denominated the spirit of 
tlie age. 

It would be as impossible for the nineteenth centu- 
ry to enter into the opinions and sentiments of the 
njiddle ages, as for Boston and Charleston to arrive at 
the same social conclusions upon any question of mo- 
ment. Yet it is the people, ourselves and our neigh- 
bors, who make this social power, which reacts again 
upon us all. This class of influences, although most 
powerful, are frequently more local than general. 
Almost every community has its own modifying 
causes which mould public opinion in that locality, 
imtil each class, clique and circle has its own views, 
sentiments and tendencies, inherited from the past, 
or imbibed from the peculiar influences to which they 
are subjected. Each family has its type of charac- 
ter ; but who shall say whether it be not as much 
modified by its circumstances — by the family beliefs 


and feelings, as by its inherited proclivities. I liave 
known one child of a family to be adopted elsewhere 
and brought up under entirely different circumstan- 
ces, to differ from all his kindred in looks, thoughts, 
style of manners, and character.* Again and again 
have such examples been repeated with more or less 
marked effect, until it cannot be doubted that educa- 
tion is at least the powerful rival and competitor of 
inherited tendencies in moulding the character of 
mankind. Every object in nature is many-sided ; the 
grass-blade is double-edged ; the leaf has its two 
faces, and the crystal its several planes. So every 
social and moral question has its many stand-points for 

If we would truly improve the race, we must be 
constant in our appliances, not only before birth, but 
until death. That effects follow causes is a principle 
W'hich can never be too thoroughly interwoven with 
all practical life. I am especially desirous to impress 
the mind with the almost omnipotence of the uncon- 
scious and undesigned, but ever ceaseless influences 
which round and finish all characters. Influences, di- 
rect and intentional, may be brought to bear with am- 
ple force ; but they are often wholly or partially coun- 
teracted by gentle and unrecognized causes, each 
touching lightly, here a little, and there a little, unseen 
and unfelt, but with a finger as resistless as fate itself. 

As a nation, we are careful to give our youth school 

* Cliildren wlio have inherited active animal propensities, accompa- 
nied by a weak will, or any peculiar family idiosyncracies, are, of 
course, exceptions to this general rule. 


knowledge. In this sense, no communitj was ever 
better educated. But our children mingle more freely 
and sooner with the world, and are earlier matured 
mentally than any other people ; and thus while they 
are taught one thing by precept, they can learn quite 
another by example. . We give the little girl a moral 
lesson against vanity ; but, at the same time, we place 
her under circumstances where she finds that display 
is the first consideration : of course she is moulded by 
the strongest influence. We would teach a son to be 
wise, honest, and diligent, but we allow him to asso- 
ciate with the weak, idle and unprincipled ; if he be- 
comes a fop or a black-leg we must blame ourselves, 
rather than the pliant youth. A week of precept is 
worth less than an hour of example ; just as seven ser- 
mons would produce less impression than one attract- 
ive moral story. 

Our children may be ever so well born, but unless 
we learn the potent secret of strongly and rightly en- 
listing them in any direction which we may desire,- 
they never can be well trained. 

Every passion and emotion of the human heart, 
whether good or evil, has a magnetic power which 
will attract, more or less, each person who comes with- 
in its charmed circle. So a genuine enthusiasm, what- 
ever its moral tone, is contagious ; but the boy of five 
and the lad of sixteen will take it more certainly than 
the man of fixed principles. It is absolutely impossi- 
ble to associate intimately with any one who has deci- 
ded tastes and interests in any direction, and who is 
frank in the expression of his sympathies, without feel- 
ing yourself drawn towards him into some degree of 


appreciation. You catch his spirit, you find your own 
views widening to take in his, you realize that there is 
more in life than you had thought, and there comes a 
new sense of expansiveness to your own powers. Here 
is the great advantage of mingling freely with a frank 
diversity of minds. The traveler, if he has the skill 
to look below the surface of things, returns a much 
wiser man. Foreign nations give him foreign thoughts, 
which, when harmonized with his own, the old thought 
range is vastly widened. But one's associations need 
to be close, easy, and familiar if he would penetrate to 
the sources of another's strength and power in any di- 
rection. Literary and social clubs, scientific and phi- 
lanthropic societies, churches, all these knit closely the 
bonds of association. They mingle heads and hearts 
till each takes to himself something from the lives of 
all. Isolation is dwarfing in its tendencies, association 
is the continued opening-up of wider experiences. The 
man of letters finds his companionship with his au- 
thors ; the naturalist may find his in the facts and laws 
he is studying ; but there is nothing like the loving 
tnoughts and sympathies of a friend to quicken sym- 
pathies in another. 

What the parents love and do, the children will love 
and do also ; they catch the spirit of it by inspiration. 
If people would remember this, in educating their 
cliildren, a far less number would disappoint the hopes 
of parents. " Don't you know," quoth little Ben in 
his sweet voice, " that an idiot is a person who doesn't 
know an arbor vitse from a pine ; he don't know any- 
thing?" "The young human scion," says Mr. Hig- 
ginson, " knew the flowers by name before he knew 


Ills letters, and used their symbols more readily." It 
was doubtless the knowedge and the steady fervent love 
of those about him, for natural objects, which made 
him as familiar with trees, as with his games and play- 
things. ISTo dry, formal teaching could have secured 
this object ; for every young person is influenced more 
by the likes and dislikes of those about him, than by 
their precepts. Do you desire to give your son gentle- 
manly manners ? Don't bore him with injunctions, but 
give him gentlemanly associates. Do you wish to 
give him a correct and fluent use of the noble Eng- 
lish language ? Don't send him to a school where 
the teacher and pupils speak only in provincialisms. 
Do you wish your son to cultivate any art or science ? 
Place him with people who are in love with those 

"The child is father to the man." That which 
is good for your children is equally good for your- 
self Any one of fair abilities can become about 
what he pleases, in culture, and in character ; but, in 
order to do this, he must make use of the right means. 
He must agree with Carlyle that " many a bright geni- 
us is smothered under a too vigorous digestion," — must 
eschew self-indulgence and love of ease, — must live in 
accordance with the laws of life and health ; and must 
conscientiously believe with Bacon, " that all know- 
edge is his province." 

If the education of youth could have a more practi- 
cal bent, and be carried on as an every day and every 
hour matter, the world would assume a new character 
in a single generation. The good effect would be more 
immediate and more apparent, than that resulting from 


any amonnt of attention bestowed for the ante-natal 
development of the race. Yet the two are related 
to each other, as the foundation to the superstructure. 
A showj, pretentious building, erected on the sands, 
has scriptural authority for its unsoundness and insta- 
bility. So a good basis if it be not worthily crowned 
with a fitting education, is of little worth. 
^ Eternal vigilance is the price of all noblest good for 
ourselves and for our children. Every work which 
seeks the broadest development of .the race, must 
look for its needs not only in the present, but in the 
light of the past of all nations and ages. By thus en- 
larging its ends and aims, it best comprehends the 
most sacred interests of humanity ; and every reflect- 
ing mind will become impressed w^ith the necessity 
and importance of a more perfect development of the 


I HAVE the great satisfaction to be able to enricli 
this volume with the following prayer, contributed by 
one of our divines well known to the public by his 
services in the cause of humanity and right. I recom- 
mend it to the attenon of every expectant mother, 
as a supplication to diveste goodness for the most val- 
uable gift which it is possible to receive in this world, 
not only for herself, but for the generations of all time. 


O God ! my Creator ! Thou that didst cover me in 
my mother's womb, and in whose book all my mem 
bers were written, which in continuance were fashion- 
ed when as yet there was none of them. Hear the 
humble prayer of thy handmaid, in whom Thou hast 
planted the hope of offspring ! Thou alone knowest 
what is the way of the Spirit ; and how the bones do 
grow in the womb of her that is with child. Thy ser- 
vant bows in adoration of the mystery by which Thou 

kiudlest the living soul from the dust and ashei^ of 



mortal flesh. Framer of our bodies and Father of our 
spirits ! — mercifully regard tliine handmaid while she 
carries this germ of an immortal being in her ?oins ! 
Help her to control every carnal appetite or mental 
passion that might injure the precious trust commitred 
unto her! May meek and holy thoughts prevail in 
her heart, while this babe is hid beneath it ; so that, 
her sins and caprices may not be communicated to her 
seed, but rather Thy Holy Spirit, and the mind of 
Christ, Thy Holy Child. In the name of Him who 
bore the Cross, make Thy servant patient under any 
w'eariness or sorrow belonging to her condition ! 
Against the hour of her labor, enable her to strength- 
en her heart with thoughts of the joy she shall feel, 
■when her child shall see the light and breathe the 
breath of life ! Make the holy thing which is to 
come out of her, a joy to its parents, a benefit to the 
world, and an heir of salvation. And to that end, 
render her, whose reins Thou hast possessed, more calm 
in trust, purer in thought, more constant in obedience, 
and closer in her walk with Thee — until it shall 
please Thee to complete the full time of her delivery, 
and to lay this unborn child in thy handmaid's bosom ! 
Hear, O Father, for the sake of Thy dear Son, our 
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Aine7i. 



The following extract is from " Physiology of Common 
Life," by Lewes. " The Qualities we inherit from our Pa- 
rents," page 314, vol. 2. 

•' ' That boy is the very image of his mother ' ! is the 
esclamation frequently heard ; and not less frequently, 
' That boy is remarkably unlike his parents ' ! We also 
hear it said, ' He has his father's talent, or his mother's 
sharpness,' and conversely, ' He has none of the family 
talent.' That the sons of remarkable men are generally 
dunces, and that men of genius have remarkable mothers, 
are two very questionable statements which have become 

" Such contradictory statements seem to indicate that qual- 
ities are and are not inherited from parents ; that inherit- 
ance is very much a matter of chance, and that what we 
usually suppose to be evidence of hereditary transmission, 
is really nothing more than coincidence. This seems to be 
the view taken by Mr. Buckle ; in his remarkable work 
there is the following passage, which must excite the physi- 
ologist's astonishment : " We often hear of hereditary talents, 
hereditary vices, and hereditary virtues ; but whoever will 
critically examine the evidence, will find that we have no 


proof of tlieir existence. The way in which they are com- 
monly proved is in the highest degree illogical, the usual 
course being for writers to collect instances of some mental 
peculiarity found in the parent and in his child, and then to. 
infer that the peculiarity was bequeathed. By this mode of 
reasoning we might demonstrate any proposition, since in 
any large field of inquiry there are a sufficient number of 
empirical coincidences to make a plausible case in favor of 
whatever view a man chooses to advocate."* 

It must be admitted that many of the cases collected to 
prove hereditary transmission have been allowed to pass 
unchallenged by criticism, and many of them are worthless 
as evidence, but is Mr. Buckle prepared to deny that the 
tendencies and peculiarities of men depend on their organ- 
izations ? If he is not prepared to deny this, his criticism is 
illogical, since there can be no shadow of doubt that organ- 
isms are inherited. He will not say that it is a mere coin- 
cidence which preserves intact the various "breeds" of 
animals ; which makes the bull-dog and the terrier ; which 
makes the Jews all over the world resemble Jews, because 
they keep their race free from admixture, by never marry- 
ing into other races ; which gives us short-horned cattle and 
fan-tailed pigeons ; and which makes the pedigree of a horse 
or dog, a value estimated in hard cash. Unless parents 
transmitted to offspring their organizations, their peculiar- 
ities and excellencies, there would be no such thing as a 
breed or a race. The cur would run the same chance as 
the best bred dog of turning out valuable. The grey-hound 
might point, and the cart-horse win the Derby. Daily ex- 
perience tells us that this is impossible. Science tells us 
that there is no such thing as chance. Physiology tells us 

* Buckle: Civilization in England, I., 61. 


ttat the offspring always, and necessarily, inherits its organ- 
ization from the parents; and if the organization is inher- 
ited, then with it must be inherited its tendencies and ap- 
titudes. Mr. Buckle seems to have been misled by that 
which conceals the fact of transmission from ordinary appre- 
hension, namely, the very great nuiiiber of instances in which 
the offspring does not resemble either parent ; or rather in 
which the resemblance is not discernable by us. If the law 
of transmission is not a figment, these seeming contradictions 
are susceptible of explanation ; and in the course of the brief 
survey which will here be given, I hope to be able to con- 
vince the reader that an explanation is possible. 

We must first note the indubitable fact that the organ- 
ization of the offspring always and necessarily resembles that 
of the parents in its general character. So uniform is our 
experience of this constancy, that nothing would be more 
incredible than that negro parents should give birth to a 
child with the straight hair, aquiline nose, small heels, &c., 
of a European ; or that two sheep should produce a goat. 
But while there is this constancy in the transmission of gen- 
eral characters, there is considerable variation in the trans- 
mission of individual peculiarities. One of the negro pa- 
rents may be tall, robust, joyous, stupid ; the other, short, 
feeble, querulous, clever ; now as the child cannot be at once 
short and tall, clever and stupid, feeble and robust, in inher- 
iting its parents' organizations it may resemble one of the 
parents more than the other, or may apparently resemble 
neither, by being a mingling of the two. It is the fact of 
double parentage, and double inheritance, with an inequal- 
ity in the amount of influence exercised by each parent, which 
complicates the question, and produces the seeming contra- 
dictions to the law of transmission. Let two Jews produce 
offspring, and inasmuch as both parents have the Jewish 
physiognomy, the offspring will be unmistakably Jewish ; 


but let the Jew and the Saxon produce offspring, and the 
mingling of these two different organizations will be as visi- 
ble in the offspring as it is in the mulatto, or in any other 
cross breed. 

People often express surprise at observing the strange 
differences in aspect and disposition between brothers bred 
up together in the same nursery, and under similar influen- 
cies. From Cain and Abel, to the brothers Bonaparte, the 
diversity in families has been a standing marvel. Nay, such 
diversities are observed not only between brothers, but be- 
tween twins ; and it was noticed in the striking case of the 
celebrated Rita and Christina, twins who were so fused to- 
gether that they had only one body and one pair of legs be- 
tween them, with two heads and four arms, yet they mani- 
fested very different dispositions and tempers.* The same 
was observed of the Presburg twins, the Siamese twins, 
and of the African twins, recently exhibited in London. 
The cause of these diversities is the inequality with which 
the parental organizations were inherited ; both parents 
contributing their elements, but these elements were differ- 
ently compounded. 

It is to this inequality in the influence of a particular 
parent that we must attribute the fact, that, while certain 
peculiarities, trifling and even whimsical, are sometimes 
seen to be transmitted, they are not uniformly transmitted. 
^ * # The truth of the matter seems to be this : The organ- 
ization of the parent is transmitted, and with that organiza- 
tion, all those chai-acters and tendencies which the organ- 
ization in activity would naturally manifest. A habit, or a 
trick, which has been acquired, and so long established that 
it may be said to be organized in the individual — whose 
mechanism has grown to its performance — will stand the 

* Geoffroy St. Hilaire: Philosopliie Anatomique, 11. 


same chance of being inherited, as the bulk of bone and mus- 
cle, or the sensibility of the nervous system. An idiosyn- 
cracy which results from some organic disposition — sa}^ for 
example, the repugnance to animal food — may as easily be 
inherited as a good constitution, or a scrofulous tendency. 
Ex])lain it as we may, there is no fact more certain than that 
a habit once firmly fixed, once " organized" in the individ- 
ual, becomes almost as susceptible of transmission as any 
normal tendency. Pointer pups inherit the aptitude, 
i. e. the organization fitting them for easily learning to 
" point ;" and this aptitude is sometimes so strong that they 
will point before they have been taught. It is the same 
with dogs that have been taught to "beg." I had a pup, 
taken from its mother at six weeks old, and before, there- 
fore, it could have learned to beg from her, which spontane- 
ously took to begging for everything it wanted ; and one 
day I found it opposite a rabbit hutch, begging apparently, 
the rabbits to come and play. Grirou relates that he knew 
a man who had the habit of sleeping on his back, with his 
right leg crossed over his left. One of his daughters showed 
the same peculiarity from her birth upwards, and con- 
stantly assumed the same attitude in her cradle. Venette 
knew a woman who, without being lame, had a sort of limp 
in her right leg ; her dauo;hter had the same defect in her 
right leg. Every one's experience will furnish examples of 
trifling peculiarities of manner — too individual to be mis- 
taken — which are manifested by children who have never 
seen the parents they imitate. Nor is there anything sur- 
prising in this. The habit or manner, the attitude or trick, 
results from some peculiarity in the bodily framework, con- 
genital or acquired, and this peculiarity is transmitted in the 
framework. It would alivays be transmitted were there not 
the counter-influence of a second parent, whose organization 
is also inherited. This second parent has not the peculi- 



arity, and the peculiarity may therefore be counteracted by 
her influence. Two pointers will produce pups that easily 
learn to point, or even do so spontaneously ; but if a pointer 
be crossed with a setter, it is very likely some of the pups 
will not point at all, although some may inherit the parental 
tendency. If a man with a great musical aptitude marry a 
woman with none, it is probable that of two children one will 
inherit the musical aptitude, and the other be as insensible 
as the mother ; but it is also probable that both will inherit 
the aptitude, or that neither will. Whenever we observe 
vigorous constancy in the transmission of qualities — as in 
the breeds of animals — -the secret is that both parents had 
more or less of these qualities. Whenever we observe in- 
constancy in the transmission, the secret is, that only one 
parent had the qualities ; and inasmuch as both parents 
transmit their organizations, the double influence determines 
th'> product. 

Instead, therefore, of feeling any surprise at a quality 
not being inherited when only one parent had that quality, 
we must anticipate such a result being very frequent ; and 
our attention should rather be fixed on the numerous cases 
in which the quality is transmitted in spite of the influence 
of the other parent. Two consumptive parents will inevit- 
ably bring forth consumptive or scrofulous children ; but 
one consumptive and one vigorous parent will bring forth 
children, none of which may be consumptive or scrofulous, 
or only some of them, or all of them. These variations 
throw no doubt of inheritance, but are in strict conformity 
with it ; because no sooner are disturbing influences re- 
moved than the law acts with unvarying uniformity. * * * 
Tendencies to particular vices are inherited, and are exhib- 
ited in cases where the early death of the parents, or the 
removal of the children in infancy, prevents the idea of any 
imitation or effect of education being the cause. That the 


organization of a thief is transmitted from father to son 
through generations, seems tolerably certain. Gall has 
cited some striking examples. And murder, like talent, 
seems occasionalty to run in families. 

Mr. Lewes gives many remarkable instances of the hered- 
itary transmission of insanity, of blindness, of the various 
nervous diseases, and of longevity. The theory generally 
adopted by physiologists, that the male parent gives the 
external or locomotive organs, and the female the internal 
or vital organs, is thus opposed by this author. " Moreo- 
ver, if the theory we are combating be admitted — if the fa- 
ther bestows the nervous system — how are we to explain 
the notorious inferiority of the children of great men ? 
There is considerable exaggeration afloat on this matfer, and 
able men have been called nullities because they have not 
manifested the great talents of their fathers ; but allowing 
for all over-statement, the palpable fact of the inferiority of 
some sons to their fathers is beyond dispute, and has help- 
ed to foster the idea of all great men owing their genius to 
their mothers, an idea which will not bear • confrontation 
with facts. Many men of genius have had remarkable mo- 
thers ; and that one such instance could be cited is suffi- 
cient to prove the error both of the hypothesis which refers 
the nervous system to paternal influence, and of the hypo- 
thesis which only refers the preponderance to the paternal 
influence. If the male preponderates, how is it that Peri- 
cles, who ' carried the weapons of Zeus upon his tongue,' 
produced nothing better than a Paralus and a Xanthippus ? 
How came the infamous Lysimachus from the austere Aris- 
tides ? How was the weighty intellect of Thucydides left; 
to be represented by an idiotic Milesius, and a stupid Ste 
phanus ? Where was the great soul of Oliver Cromwell in 
his son Richard ? Who were the inheritors of Henry IV, 


and Peter tlie Great ? What were Sliakespeare's cMldren, 
and Milton's caughters'? "What was Addison's only son 1 
an idiot. Unless the mother preponderated in these and 
similar instances, we are without an explanation ; for it be- 
ing proved as a law of heritage, that the individual does 
transmit his qualities to his offspring, it is only on the sup- 
position of both individuals transmitting their organizations, 
and the one modifying the other, that such anomalies are 
conceivable. When the paternal influence is not counter- 
acted, we see it transmitted. Hence the common remark, 
' talent runs in families.' The proverbial phrases, ' L'es- 
prit des Mortemarts,' and the ' wit of the Sheridans,' im- 
ply this transmission from father to son. Bernardo Tasso 
was a considerable poet, and his son Torquato inherited his 
faculties, higbtened by the influence of the mother. The 
two Herschels, the two Colemans, the Kemble family, and 
the Coleridges, will at once occur to the reader ; but the 
most striking example known to us is that of the family 
which boasted Jean Sebastian Bach as the culminating illus- 
tration of a musical genius, which more or less was distrib- 
uted over three hundred Bachs, the children of very various 

" Here a skeptical reader may be tempted to ask, how a 
man of genius is ever produced if the child is the repetition 
of his parents ? How can two parents of ordinary capacity 
produce a child of extraordinary power ? The answer must 
he postponed until we come to treat of secondary influences. 
For the present we content ourselves with insisting on the 
couclusions to which the foregoing survey of fasts has led, 
namely, that both parents are always represented in the off- 
spring ; and although the male influence is sometimes seen 
to preponderate in one direction, and the female influence 
in another, yet this direction is by no means constant, is often 
reversed, and admits of no absolute reduction to a knowD 


formula. * * * It is now time that we should direct our 
attention to some of the perturbing causes which mask the 
laws of transmission from our perfect apprehension. While 
proclaiming as absolute the law of individual transmission, 
while proclaiming that the parents are always reproduced in 
the offspring, we are met by the obvious fact of the offspring 
often exhibiting so marked a departure from their parents, 
being so different in form and disposition, that the law seems 
at fault. We may point to the fact of a genius suddenly 
starting up in an ordinary family, or to a thousand illustra- 
tive examples in which the law of transmission seems at 
fault. To explain these would be to have mastered the 
whole mystery of heritage ; all that we can do is to mention 
some of the known perturbing influences." For these, we 
must refer the reader to Mr. Lewes's book, p. 338, second 

The following extract coroborates the preceding views.* 

"Hereditary transmission, displayed alike in all the plants 
we cultivate, in all the animals we breed, and in the human 
race, applies not only to physical, but to psychical peculiar- 
ities. It is not simply that a modified form of constitution 
produced by new habits of life, is bequeathed to future gen- 
erations, but it is that the modified nervous tendencies pro- 
duced by such new habits of life, are also bequeathed : and 
if the new habits of life become permanent, the tendencies 
become permanent. This is illustrated in every creature 
respecting which we have the requisite experience, from 
man downwards. Though among the families of civilized 
society, the change of occupation and habits from generation 
to generation, and the intermarriage of families having differ 
ent occupations and habits, very greatly confuse the evidence 

* Spencer's Principles of Psychology, p. 526. 


of psychical transmission, yet it needs but to considernational 
characterg in which these disturbing causes are averaged, to 
see distinctly that mental peculiarities produced by habit be- 
come hereditary. We know that they are warlike, peaceful, 
nomadic, maritime, hunting, commercial races — races 
independent or slavish, active or slothful, — races that dis- 
play great varieties of disposition ; we know tba't many of 
these, if not all, have a common origin, and hence there can 
be no question that these varieties of disposition which have 
a more or less evident relation to the habits of life have been 
gradually induced and established in successive generations, 
and have become organic. That is to say, the tendencies to 
certain combinations of psychical changes have become or- 
ganic. In the domesticated animals, parallel facts are fa- 
miliar to all. Not only the forms and constitutions, but the 
habits of horses, oxen, sheep, pigs, and fowls, have become 
different from what they were in their wild state. In the va- 
rious breeds of dogs, all of them according to the test of 
species derived from one stock, the varieties of mental char- 
acter and faculty permanently established by mode of life, 
are numerous ; and the several tendencies are spontaneously 
manifested. A young pointer will point at a covey the first 
time he in taken afield. A retriever brought up abroad, has 
been remarked to fulfil his duty without instruction. And 
in such cases the implication is that there is a bequeathed 
tendency for the psychical changes to take place in a spe- 
cial way. Even from the conduct of untamed creatures, we 
may gather some evidence having like implications. The 
birds of inhabited countries are far more difficult to ap- 
proach than those of uninhabited ones. And the manifest 
inference is that continued experience of human enmity has 
produced an organic effect upon them — has modified their 
instincts — has modified the connections among their phychi- 
cal states." 



* " The time was, so at least our grandmotliers have told 
us, when our farmers' wives and daughters were models of 
healthy womanhood — fresh-cheeked, full-breasted, straight, 
lithe, active, and vigorous— worthy to be the wives and ca- 
pable of becoming the mothers of strong, brave, large- 
hearted men. Such undoubtedly were the wives and moth- 
ers of Colonial and Eevolutionary times, and such perhaps 
may be found now, but they are the exceptions to the pre- 
vailing pallor, debility and disease. 

" The country girl is a favorite theme with the poet, and 
when she is what he generally paints her, she is more 
than worthy of his verse. What a picture of fresh and 
charming beauty does the mere mention of her name call 
up before the mind's eye ! Those noble contours, that full 
and rounded bust, those sweet, frank, maidenly features ; 
those deep, clear eyes, so full of sweet expression; those 
health-tinted cheeks, with their diffused and peachy bloom 
— all conspire to form a combination which no mortal man 
has either the power or the will to withstand. Such a being 
is a queen in her own right, and all men are her willing 
slaves. This is the ideal country girl — the country girl as 

• " Hints towards Physical Perfection." By D. H. Jacques. 


she OTiglit to be and might be. Seek her among the corn fields 
and the orchards, and in the cottage homes which hide them- 
selves among the apple trees I If you do not find her, 3'ou 
will find, in her place, the actual country girl of to-day, with 
perchance a crooked spine, a contracted chest, a diseased 
liver, and a dyspeptic stomach. Neuralgia, general debility, - 
' decline,' chlorosis, prolapsus uteri — the whole train of fe- 
male diseases, in short, are now almost as common in the 
country as in the city. It is fashionable to be sentimentally 
pale ; to have ' delicate health ;' and alas I to be consump- 
tive and die young. 

" How has the sound health and \ital stamina of our grand- 
mothers been lost ? The country air has not deteriorated ; 
pure water and sun light never fail, and have not lost their 
virtue ; the household duties of women are not more, but 
less severe ; wholesome food, or at least, the materials for 
making wholesome food are more abundant. Where, then, 
shall we look for the causes of the decay of health and beau- 
ty (for the latter goes with the former,) among the women of 
the country ? 

" The foundations for it were perhaps laid in the very times 
of which our grandmothers boast, and in their own persons. 
They were full of vital stamina — vigorous and active ; but 
they had little or no assistance from servants or ' hired 
help ' in their household labors — too severe even for them 
— which were scarcely remitted during gestation and lac- 
tation. The result, through the action of immutable laws, 
was deterioration to their ofi"spring. Their daughters, less 
strong than themselves grew up to the same round of drud- 
gery ; married in due time ; spent the months of maternal 
expectation in the kitchen, and in the performance of the 
rudest labors of the household ; and gave birth to their chil- 
dren (the expression is scarcely figurative) in the midst of 


their .pots and kettles ! A still further decadence was in- 

" Is it not strange that intelligent men — men, at least, 
who have long ago learned that dismissal from labor and 
extra care are required by their domestic animals during 
the period of gestation — remain still ignorant or careless of 
the fact that the same physiological laws apply still more 
imperatively, to the mothers of their children*? Shame on 
the stupidity or brutality which fails to recognize and re- 
spect the sacred office of maternity, and to surround woman 
in the exercise of it, 'with the profoundest reverence and 
the most devoted and tender care." 

" The woman about to become a mother," says Dr, 
Holmes, " or with her new-born infant upon her bosom-, 
should be the object of trembling care and sympathy where- 
ever she bears her tender burden or stretches her aching 
limbs. The very outcast in the streets has pity upon her 
sister in degradation when the seal of promised maternity 
is pressed upon her. The remorseless vengeance of the law 
brought down upon its victim by a machinery as sure as 
destiny, is arrested in its fall at a word which reveals her 
transient claim to mercy. The solemn prayer of the lituro-y 
singles out her sorrows from the multiplied trials of life to 
plead for her in the hour of peril. God forbid that any 
member of the profession to which she trusts her life 
doubly precious at that eventful period, should hazard it 
negligently, unadvisedly, or selfishly," 

The proceeding eloquent passage was elicited on the oc- 
casion of demonstrating the eminently contagious nature of 
Puerperal Fever. " "Well has Dr. Holmes said of those who, 
through a misunderstanding, or a misconception of the cause 
and character of this disease, have been the unintentional 


instruments of its spread and devastation :* — " No tongue 
can tell the heart-breaking calamity they have caused ; they 
have closed the eyes just opened upon a new world of love 
and happiness ; they have bowed the strength of manhood 
into the dust ; they have cast the helplessness of infancy 
into the stranger's arms, or bequeathed to it, with less 
cruelty, the death of its dying parent. There is no tone 
deep enough for regret, and no voice loud enough for 

The following extract from this author's ' Life of Goethe* 
corroborates his preceding views. 

" G-oethe's father was a cold, formal, stern, somewhat 
pedantic, but truth-loving, upright man. He hungered for 
knowledge, and although in general of a laconic turn, freely 
imparted all he learned. In his domestic circle his word 
was law. Not only imperious, but in some respects capri- 
cious, he was nevertheless greatly respected if little loved, 
by wife, children, and friends. He is characterized by 
Krause as ' a straight-forward Frankfort citizen,' whose hab- 
its were as measured as his gait. From him the poet inher- 
ited the well-built frame, the erect carriage, and the meas- 
ured movement which in old age became stiffness, and was 
construed into diplomacy or haughtiness ; from him also 
came that orderliness and stoicism which have so much dis- 
tressed those who cannot characterize genius otherwise than 
as vagabond in its habits, the lust for knowledge, the delight 
in communicating it, the almost pedantic attention to de- 
tails which are noticeable in the poet, are all traceable in 
the father. 

" The mother was more like what we conceive as the pro 

* Journal of National Medicine. Edited by C. H. Cleveland, M D., of 


per parent for a poet. She is one of the pleasantest figuress 
in German literature, and one standing out with greater vi- 
vidness than almost any other. Her simple, hearty, joyous, 
and affectionate nature, endeared her to all. She was tha 
delight of children, the favorite of poets and princes. To 
the last retaining her enthusiasm and simplicity, mingled 
with great shrewdness and knowledge of character, Fran, 
Aga, as they christened her, was at once grave and hearty, 
dignified and simple. She had read most of the best Ger- 
man and Italian authors, had picked up considerable desul- 
tory information, and had that ' mother wit ' which so often 
seems to render culture superfluous in women, their rapid 
intuitions anticipating the tardy conclusions of experience — 
a characteristic also of the poetic mind. Her letters are 
full of spirit ; not always strictly grammatical, not irre- 
proachable in orthography, but vigorous with vivacity. 
After a lengthened interview with her, an enthusiastic tra- 
veler says, * Now do I understand how Goethe has become 
the man he is!' Wieland, Merck, Burger, Madame de 
Stael, Karl August, and other great people, sought her ac- 
quaintance. The Duchess x\melia corresponded with her as 
with an intimate friend ; a letter from her was a small jubi- 
lee at the Weimar Court. She was married at seventeen to 
a man she did not love, and was only eighteen when the 
poet was born. This, instead of making her prematurely 
old, seems to have perpetuated her girlhood. ' I and my 
Wolfgang,' she said, ' have always held fast to each other, 
because we are both young together.' To him she trans- 
mitted her love of story-telling, her animal spirits, her love 
of every thing that bore the stamp of distinctive individual- 
ity, and her love of seeing happy faces around her. ' Order 
and quiet,' she says in one of her charming letters to Freiherr 
von Stein, ' are my principal characteristics. Hence I dis- 
patch at once whatever I have to do, the most disagreeable 


always first, and I gulp down the devil without looting at 
him. When all has returned, to its proper state then I defy 
any one to surpass me in good humor.' Her heartiness and 
tolerance are the causes, she thinks, why every one likes 
her. I am fond of people, and that every one feels directly 
— young and old. I pass without pretension through the 
world, and that gratifies men. I never hemoralize any one — 
always spek out the good that is in them — and leave all that 
is bad to Him who made mankind, and knows how to round 
off" the angles. In this way I make myself happy and 
comfortable.' Who does not recognise the son in those ac- 
cents ? The kindliest of men inherited his loving, happy 
nature from the heartiest of women.' 



" In tlie growth of civilization," says H. W. Beecher, 
" women have steadily risen, and have enlarged their sphere 
and multiplied their functions. May we not reasonably ex- 
pect that hereafter the same development will proceed ? 
Are there not for woman, as for man, new applications of 
power, new spheres of influence 1 Or is man the true fruit 
of the human race, and woman only a blossom, good to give 
him a start, then to perish, and let him swell to full propor- 
tion ? 

" Consider the lesson of history. How much has woman 
advanced in variety of functions and in versatility of powers I 
She was once an article of merchandise, and is still, among 
savages. She was secluded, and not accounted an equal 
member, even among her own family. Her name in many 
nations has been a synonym for all that is weak, vain and 
contemptible. She has been, in some periods of the world, 
denied the rights of social life ; and, by arguments just 
such as are now employed to bar her further usefulness, it 
has been declared that she ought not to be educated, that 
her province was subordinate, and her duty the service of 
the coarser man. The educated woman of our days would 
have been the wonder of early civilizations. She has at- 
tained and holds without remark a degree of liberty and 


various efficiency whicli would have violated the customs and 
shocked the prejudices of olden days. At each change, at 
every upward step, have stood these pleaders, whose unde- 
generate posterity are yet in the same manner reasoning, 
affirming that already she was in her right place, and should 
stay where Providence placed her. For the men who rea- 
son with faces prone to the earth think always that the 
state to which the world has grown to this day is all that 
Grod meant it should ever grow. Men of great conceit have 
ever thought that Time was ripe in them. At length wo- 
man dawned into literature, and changed the spirit of let- 
ters. When she became a reader man no longer wrote as 
if for men. She enforced purity and higher decorum. 
Yv^hen woman came as a reader and a writer, then again men a 
saw that guiding star which led them where the young child 
of Christian purity lay. For, after all, it is the pen that is 
the tongue of the world, and a woman's hand is becoming 
more influential than the orator's mouth. 

" Woman has also advanced to a higher sphere as a 
teacher, and all are beginning to feel, although it does not 
appear what she is to do, that a new life is opened to her. 
Thus, step by step, against prejudices and arguments of her 
unfitness, against rude pushes downwards, and much advice 
as to her proper duties, (which in the main have been the 
drudgeries that men disliked,) woman has advanced to a 
wider plane, to higher duties, to a liberty of following freely 
her own natural gifts, and to the reluctant recognition of 
her right to do whatever she could do well ! 

" Nor have the prophecies that, like bats, flitted about 
her, been fulfilled. In the augmentation of her liberty an 
the enlargement of her sphere she has forsaken no duty of 
home, and lost no grace of tenderness and love. She has 
become a better mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, by 
just that enlargement which it was predicted, would unsex 


her. Experience has shown that as women are made to he 
worth more to society at large, and in public interests, 
they are worth more at home, and are capable of building it 
better, and administering its duties and aiFections more skil- 
fully and refinedly. Woman is not best in the family in 
communities where she is the most secluded. She is rich- 
est in all household excellencies in those societies where 
she has liberty of widest activity and motives to the exer- 
cise of her tatents upon the largest scale. That vulgar 
maxim, worn smooth in fools' mouths, that a woman ought 
to stay at home and take care of her husband's clothes and 
her children's food, is a switch cut from the great tree of 
Arrogance under which despotic men have always sat, and 
from which the strong have always cut their bludgeons and 
cudgels wherewith to strike down or chastise the weak. A 
woman is better fitted for home who is also fit for something 
else. It is largeness, it is generous culture, it is power 
made skilful by exercise, that make both men and women 
rich in domestic life. Whatever makes her a better thinker, 
a larger-minded actor, a deeper thoughted observer, a more 
potent writer or teacher, makes her by just so much a better 
wife and mother. No one is a better friend for being igno- 
rant. No one is a more tender companion for being weak 
and helpless. Our homes demand great hearts and strong 
hands ; but these need the culture of open air and the free 
heavens. They are not of the hot-bed or the conserva-^ 

"Right position of women in a state," says Emerson, " is 
another index of civilization. Poverty and industry with a 
healthy mind read very easily the laws of humanity, and 
love them : place the sexes in right relations of mutual 
respect, and a severe morality gives that essential charm to 
woman which educates all that is delicate, poetic and self- 
sacrificing, breeds courtesy and learning, conversation and 


wit, in her rough mate ; so that I have thought it a sufficient 
definition of civilization to say, it is the influence of good 

" Hitherto," says Theodore Parker, " with woman circum- 
stances have hindered the development of intellectual power 
in all its forms. She has not knowledge or practical skill 
to equal the power of man. But circumstances have fa- 
vored the development of pure and lofty emotions in advance 
of man. She has moral feeling, affectional feeling, religious 
feeling, far in advance of man ; her moral, aflfectional, and 
religious intuitions are deeper and more trustworthy than 
his. Here she is eminent, as he is in knowledge, in ideas, 
in administrative skill. 

" I think man will always lead in afl'airs of intellect, of 
reason, imagination, understanding — he has the bigger 
brain ; but that woman will always lead in affairs of emotion 
— moral, affectional, religious — she has the better heart, the 
truer intuition of the right, the lovely, the holy. The liter- 
ature of women in this country is juster, more philanthropic, 
more religious than that of men. Do you not hear the cry 
which in New England a woman is raising in the world's 
ears against the foul wrong which America is working in the 
world ? Do you not hear the echo of that woman's voice 
come over the Atlantic, returned from European shores in 
many a tongue — French, German, Italian, Swedish, Danish? 
Russian, Dutch ? How a woman touches the world's heart, 

because she speaks justice, piety and love Man's 

moral action at least is only a sort of general human provi- 
dence, aiming at the welfare of a part, and satisfied with 
achieving the ' greatest good of the greatest number.' Wo- 
man's moral action is more like a human providence, acting 
without general rules, but caring for each particular case. 
"We need both of these, the general and the special, to make 
a total providence." 



The following summary of woman's influence in improv- 
ing modern literature, and refining society, is from the pen 
of one of the most profound thinkers and ripest of scholars 
of the age,— ^it reflects credit on both head and heart.* 

" Full justice has never been done to the influence of 
woman on literature and society. Neither the classic nor 
the feudal age had anything deserving to be called society. 
What we call by that name was born in modern times, and 
owes its existence to woman. Society, the natural out-growth 
of the New Testament, without which Christianity was only 
a dogma, a hermit, or a monster, — was never born till woman 
was allowed her true place, and man learned that really un- 
der Christ, there was neither male nor female, — society, the 
only field where the sexes have ever met on terms of equal- 
ity — the arena where character is formed and studied — the 
crucible of ideas — the cradle and the realm of public 
opinion — the spur and crown of ambition — the world's uni- 
versity—the tribunal which unmasks pretension and stamps 
real merit — at once a school and a theatre — which gives 
government leave to be, and outruns the formal church in 
guiding the moral sense of the age, — who shall fitly tell us 

* Wendell Philips. 


the power of this marvelous agent over the civil and religi- 
ous world ? What else can so rightfully claim the first place 
among the controlling elements of the last two centuries ? 
Yet this is the throne of woman ; the throne which, like a 
first conqueror, she founded and then filled. * * * " The 
wealth of a nation's literature comes mostly from many rills 
that pour tribute into the central sea. Each one sees the 
s^reat objects of human thought from a difi"erent stand-point, 
as colored by class, position, mood, sex, relation, history and 
hope. When sensation passes into thought and images be- 
come hnpressions they put on the hue of the blood that 
gives them life ; and thus each thinker is in fact, a fresh 
Adam, with a new creation spread out before him. Hitherto 
the man, father, son, hero, tyrant, cold, intellectual, defiant, 
scrutinizing, has reflected for us the images of the universe. 
Now the mother, wife, impulse, affection, instinct, love of 
right, impatience of compromise, taste, duty that not only 
will not heed but does not see consequences, — these look at 
God's world for us. I dare to say, that from this single 
cause, modern literature is richer than the ancient in origi- 
nal ideas ; richer and growing more so every day, because 
woman is the audience writers address ; and woman is her- 
self a writer, revealing her own impressions and soul. * * * 
In just so far as woman is eternally different from man, in 
just that degree will thought refracted through her nature, 
come flashing forth in a thousand new colors. As well plant 
yourself in a desert, under the changeless gray and blue, 
and assert that you have seen all the wonders of God's pencil, 
as maintain that a male literature, Latin, Greek, or Asiatic, 
can be anything but a half part, one sided, poor and awry. 
As well develope only muscle, shutting out sunshine and 
color, and starving flesh from your angular limbs, and then 
advise men to scorn Titian's flesh and the Apollo, since you 
Qave exhausted manly beauty, — as well think to stir all the 


depths of music with only half the chords. The diapason 
of human thought was never struck, till Christian culture 
summoned woman into the republic of letters; and nature 
as well as experience tells us, 'what God hath joined, let 
no man put asunder.' Whether you take modern novels, 
filling so large a space in our modern literature, — the child 
of society, and breathing only in its atmosphere, — or history 
in its grandest reach, or the profoundest research of philo- 
sophical or social thought, it would be easy to point out the 
marked influence of the presence or the memory of woman 
in making our writers differ from all who preceded them. 
* * * Four hundred years ago, with only here and there an 
exception, no woman touched a pen. To-day we are rid of 
one half of this absurd injustice. Woman is part of the 
great social organization ; she thinks, she writes, she reads, 
she is a part of the motive force of the century. And, mark 
me I the literature of four centuries ago, when woman was 
not a reader, is gross, obscene, below the level of decent re- 
cognition ; men must expurgate in order to print it. Wo- 
man has become a reader, and literature springs to a higher 
level. It must always be so, in all cases, where the two 
sexGs harmoniously take part. . . . It is no longer a question 
whether she shall shape the policy of the age ; she shares 
now the throne in that veiled, but omnipotent realm, where 
the moral sense and public opinion are formed. She has the 
pen in her right hand, and these material bodies of ours, 
though you count them by millions, are the servants of one 
soul, upon whose brow God puts the invisible circlet of 
mental sovereignty. * * * If we have the Somervilles, and 
Nightingales, Edgworths, and Charlotte Brontes, and George 
Sands, and the other great women mentioned in the litera- 
ture of this century, it is in vain to say, that we men must 
not bend to genius, when God touches its lips ! " 




" From tlie fact that the human race is in a state of tran- 
sition, we may suspect that the existing ratio between its 
ability to multiply and its ability to maintain life, is not a 
constant ratio. From the fact that its fertility is at present 
in excess of what is needed, we may infer that any change 
in the ratio will probably be toward a diminution of fertili- 
ty. And from the fact that on the whole civilization in- 
creases the ability to maintain life, we may perceive that 
there is at work some influence by which such diminution is 
necessitated. Before inquiring for this influence, let us 
consider in what directions an increase of ability to main- 
tain life may take — what scope there is for an increase. In 
some further development of the co-ordinating system, that 
is in some greater co-ordination of actions, the increase must 
of course consist. But there are several kinds of co-ordina- 
tion ; and it would be well to ask of what kind or kinds in- 
crease is most requisite, and therefore most likely. For 
doubtless in conformity with the general law of adaptation, 
increase will take place only where it is demanded. 

" Will it be in strength ? Probably not. Though from pre- 
historic remains, we may gather that the race has become 
more bulky, yet the cause of this change seems now dimin- 
ishing. Mechanical appliances are fast supplanting muscu- 
lar force, and wiH most likely continue to do so until they 


leave to be done "by manual labor only as mncb as is need- 
ful for the healthy maintenance of the body at its then at- 
tained size. 

Will it be in swiftness or agility ? Probably not. In the 
savage these form important elements of the ability to main- 
tain life ; but in the civilized man they subserve that end iu 
quite a minor degree, and there seems no circumstance 
likely to necessitate an increase of them. 

" Will it be in mechanical skill, that is, in the co-ordina- 
tion of complex movements ? Most likely in some degree. 
Awkwardness is continually entailing injuries and less of 
life. Moreover, the complicated tools developed by civiliz- 
ation are constantly requiring greater delicacy of manipu- 
lation. Already the cerebellum, which is the nervous cen- 
tre directing compound motions, is larger in man than in 
any other creature except the elephant ; and the daily-in- 
creasing variety and complexity of the processes he has to 
perform, and the appliances he has to use, may be expected 
to cause a further growth of it. 

" Will it be in intelligence ? Largely, no doubt. There 
is ample room for progress in this direction, and ample 
demand for it. Our lives are universally shortened by our 
ignorance. In attaining complete knowledge of our own 
nature, and the nature of surrounding things — in ascertain- 
ing the conditions of existence to which we must conform, 
and in discovering means of conforming to them under all 
variations of seasons and circumstances — we have abundant 
scope for intellectual culture, and urgent need for tntellec- 
tual development. 

"Will it be in morality, that is, in greater power of self- 
regulation ? Largely, also ; perhaps most largely. Normal 
conduct, or in other words, conduct conducive to the main- 
tenance of perfect and long-continued life, is usually come 
short of more from defect of will than from knowledge. To 


the due co-ordination of those complex actions which consti- 
tute human life in its civilized form, there goes not only the 
pre-requisite — recognition of the proper course, but the fur- 
ther pre-requisite — a due impulse to pursue that course. 
And on calling to mind our daily failure to fulfil often-re- 
peated resolutions, we shall perceive that lack of the need- 
ful desire rather than lack of insight, is the chief cause of 
faulty action. A further endowment of those feelings 
which civilization is developing in us — sentiments respond- 
ing to the requirements of the social state — emotive facul- 
ties that find their gratifications in the duties devolving on 
us — must be acquired before the crimes, excesses, diseases, 
improvidences, dishonesties and cruelties that now so great- 
ly diminish the duration of life, can cease. 

" But wh.ether co-ordination of actions take place in any or 
in all of these directions, and in whatever degree or propor- 
tions, it is clear that if it take place at all, it must be at the 
expense of fertility. Regarded from the abstract point of 
view, increased ability to maintain life in this case, as in all 
others, necessarily involves decreased ability to multiply. 
Or, regarded in the concrete, that further development in 
the co-ordinating system any advance presupposes, implies 
further decrease in the production of co-ordinating cells. 

" That an enlargement of the nervous centers is going on in 
mankind, is an ascertained fact. Not alone from a general 
survey of human progress — not alone from the greater pow- 
er of self-preservation shown by civilized races, are we 
left to infer such enlargement ; it is proved by actual mea- 
surement. The mean capacities of the crania in the lead 
ino- divisions of the species have been found to be — 

" In the Australian, 75 cubic inches, 
" African, 82 
'« Malayan, 86 
«' Englishman, 96* 
* Lecture by Prof . Owen before Zoological Society, Nov. 11, 1851, 


showing an increase in the course of the advance from the 
savage state to our present phase of civilization, amounting 
to nearly thirty per cent, on the original size. That this in- 
crease will be continuous might be reasonably assumed, and 
to infer a future decrease of fertility would be tolerably safe 
were no further evidence forthcoming. But it may be shown 
why a greater development of the nervous system must take 
place, and why, consequently, there must be a diminution of 
the present excess of fertility, and further, it may be shown 
that the sole agency needed to work out this change is — 
the excess of fertility itself. 

*'For as we all know, this excess of fertility entails a 
pressure of population upon the means of subsistence ; 
and, as long as it exists, must continue to do this. Looking 
only at the present and the immediate future, it is unques- 
tionably true that if unchecked, the rate of increase of 
people would exceed the rate of increase of food. It is clear 
the wants of their redundant numbers constitute the only 
stimulus mankind have to a greater production of the neces- 
saries of life, for, were not the demand beyond the supply, 
there would be no motive to increase the supply. Moreover, 
this excess of demand over supply, and this pressure of popu- 
lation, of which it is the index, cannot be eluded. Though 
by the emigration that takes place when the pressure arrives 
at a certain intensity, a partial and temporary relief may be 
obtained, yet, as by this process all the habitable countries 
must gradually become peopled, it follows, that in the end 
the pressure, whatever it may then be, must be borne in 

" But this redundancy of numbers — this constant increase 
of people beyond the means of subsistence — involving as it 
does an increasing stimulus to better the modes of produc- 
ino" food and other necessaries — involves also an increasinoc 
demand for skill, intelligence, and self-control — involves, 


therefore, a constant exercise of these, that is, involves a 
gradual growth of them. Every improvement is at once the 
product of a higher form of humanity, and demands that 
higher form of humanity to carry it into practice. The 
application of science to the arts is simply the bringing to 
bear greater intelligence for satisfying our wants, and im- 
plies continued increase of that intelligence. To get more 
product from the acre, the farmer must study chemistry — 
must adopt new mechanical appliances — and must, by the 
application of tools and processes, cultivate both his own 
powers and the powers of his laborers. To meet the re- 
quirements of the market, the manufacturer is perpetually 
improving his old machines, and inventing new ones ; and 
by the premium of high wages incites artisans to acquire 
greater skill. The daily widening ramifications of commerce 
entail upon the merchant a need for more knowledge and 
more complex calculations ; while the lessening profits of the 
ship owner force him to employ greater science in building, 
to get captains of higher intelligence, and better crews. In 
all cases increase of numbers is the efficient cause. Were 
it not for the competition this entails, more thought would 
not daily be brought to bear upon the business of life ; 
greater activity of mind would not be called for ; and de- 
velopment of mental power would not take place. Difficulty 
in getting a living is alike the incentive to a higher educa- 
cation of children, and to a more intense and long-continued 
application in adults. In the mother it induces foresight, 
economy, and skillful housekeeping ; in the father, labo- 
rious days and constant self-denial. Nothing but necessity 
could make men submit to this discipline and nothing but 
this discipline could produce a continued progression. The 
contrast between a Pacific Islander, all whose wants are 
supplied by nature, and an Englishman, who, generation 
after generation, has had to bring to the satisfaction of his 


wants ever increasing knowledge and skill, illustrates at 
once the need for, and the effects of such discipline. And 
this being admitted, it cannot be denied that a further con- 
tinuance of such discipline, possibly under a yet more in- 
tense form, must produce a further progress in the same 
direction — a further enlargement of the nervous centers, 
and a further decline of fertility. 

" And here it*must be remarked, that the eifect of pres- 
sure of population, in increasing the ability to maintain life, 
and decreasing the ability to multiply, is not a uniform 
effect, but an average one. In this case as in many others, 
nature secures each step in advance by a succession of 
trials ; which are perpetually repeated, and cannot fail to be 
repeated, until success is achieved. All mankind in turn, 
subject themselves more or less to the discipline described ; 
they either may or may not advance under it ; but in the 
nature of things, only those who do a,dva.uce under it eventu- 
ally survive. For, necessarily, families and races whom this 
increasing difficulty of getting a living which excess of 
fertility entails, does not stimulate to improvements in pro- 
duction — -that is, to greater mental activity — are on the high 
road to extinction ; and must ultimately be supplanted by 
those whom the pressure does so stimulate. This truth we 
have recently seen exemplified in Ireland. And here, in- 
deed, without further illustration, it will be seen that pre- 
mature death, under all its forms, and from all its causes, 
caanot fail to work in the same direction. For as those pre- 
maturely carried off must, in the average of cases, be those 
in whom the power of self-preservation is the least, it un- 
avoidably follows, that those left behind to continue the race 
are those in whom the power of self-preservation is the 
greatest — are the select of their generation. So that wheh- 
er the damages to existence be of the kind produced by 
excess of fertility, or of any other kind, it is clear that by 



the ceaseless exercise of the faculties needed to contend with 
them, and by the death of all men who fail to contend with 
them successfully, there is insured a constant progress 
toward a higher degree of skill, intelligence, and self-regula 
tion— .a better co-ordination of actions — a more complete life. 
" There now remains but to inquire toward what limit this 
progress tends. Evidently, so long as the fertility of the 
race is more than sufficient to balance the diminution by 
deaths, population continues to increase ; so long as population 
continues to increase, there must be pressure on the means 
of subsistence ; and so long as there is pressure on the 
means of subsistence, further mental development must go 
on, and further diminution of fertility must result. Hence 
the change can never cease until the rate of multiplication 
is just equal to the rate of mortality ; that is, can never 
cease until, on the average, each pair brings to maturity but 
two children. Probably this involves that each pair will 
rarely produce more than two offspring ; seeing that with 
the greatly increased ability to preserve life, which the hy- 
pothesis presupposes, the amount of infant and juvenile 
mortality must become small. Be this as it may, however, 
it is manifest that, in the end, pressure of population and 
its accompanying evils will entirely disappear ; and will 
leave a state of things which will require from each indi- 
vidual no more than a normal and pleasurable activity. 
That this inference is a legitimate corollary will become ob- 
vious on a little consideration. For, a cessation in the de- 
crease of fertility implies a cessation in the development of 
the nervous system ; and this implies that the nervous sys- 
tem has become fully equal to all that is demanded of it- 
has not to do more than is natural to it. But that exercise 
of faculties which does not exceed what is natural consti- 
tutes gratification. Consequently in the end, the obtain- 
raent of subsistence will require just that kind and that 
amount of action needfal to perfect health and happiness. 


'• Thug do we see bow simple are the means by which the 
greatest and most complex results are worked out. From 
the point of view now reached, it becomes plain that the ne- 
cessary antagonism of individuation and reproduction not 
only fulfills with precision the d priori law of maintenance 
of race, from the monad up to man, but insures the final 
attainment of the highest form of this maintenance — a form 
in which the amount of life shall be the greatest possible, 
and the births and deaths the fewest possible. In the nature 
of things the antagonism could not fail to work out the re- 
sults we see it working out. The gradual diminution and 
ultimate disappearance of the original excess of fertility 
could take place only through the process of civilization ; 
and at the same time, the excess of fertility has itself ren- 
dered the process of civilization inevitable. From the be- 
giuing pressure of population has been the proximate cause 
of progress. It produced the original diffusion of the race. 
It compelled men to abandon predatory habits and take to 
agriculture. It led to clearing the earth's surface. It 
forced men into the social state ; made social organization 
inevitable ; and has developed the social sentiments. It has 
stimulated to progressive improvements in production, and 
to increased skill and intelligence. It is daily pressing us 
into closer contact and more mutually dependent relation- 
ships. And after having caused, as it ultimately must, the 
due peopling of the globe, and the bringing of all its habit- 
able parts into the highest state of culture — after having 
brought all processes for the satisfaction of human wants to 
the greatest perfection — after having at the same time, de- 
veloped the intellect into competency for its work, and the 
feelings into complete fitness for social life — after having 
done all this, we see that the pressure of population, as it 
gradually finishes its work, must gradually bring itself to an 



" The great embarrassment to social progress, tte one ob- 
stacle to a more equitable distribution of wealth, is the gen- 
eral neglect of any prudential restraint upon population. 
Those who exclaim against this doctrine are either the orna- 
mental class who deliberately desire the mass of the popu- 
lation should remain in poverty that they themselves may 
live in splendor and idleness, or weak-headed sentimental- 
ists with whom feeling — and that not very refined — takes the 
place of reason. To the former we say nothing. They at 
least know what they are about- To the latter we recom- 
mend a calm perusal of Mr. Mill's admirable examinination 
of ' Low Wages and their Remedies.' If they remain un- 
convinced by his demonstrations, they are not fit to be ar- 
gued NAith." — North British Review. ^ 

" To the unionist the population question is all-important. 
At present he must not expect any concession from the em- 
ployer which he is not in a position to enforce. A moral 
change we are told may take place in the capitalist. Grant- 
ed ; but his heart will melt much more rapidly when he has 
been chastened, to borrow the language of the pulpit, in the 
furnace of affliction. He will begin to doubt the morality of 
his position, when its policy has become an open question. 
* * * Remove from him the temptation which the weakness 
and isolation of the laborer offers, and his notions of right 


and wrong will be wonderfully altered. But tlie laboring 
class as a whole will never be able to treat with the capital- 
ist class on equal terms, as long as it continues to populate 
without regard to the state of the labor market. Here and 
there a body of men by rigid combinations — by disentangling 
themselves as it were from the struggling and sinking mass, 
might manage to maintain their position ; but the general 
tendency would be inevitably downwards. 

" There is no shirking this difficulty. The fate of the 
working-classes is in their own hands. So simple is the proof, 
that had ihey but one mind to be persuaded, one will to be 
influenced, the victory were already won. The inference is 
obvious.- Combination is not unity, but it is something like 
it. As long as a man knows that all self-denial on his part 
will be neutralized by some one less public-spirited than 
himself, he will not forego what he regards as, after all, a 
legitimate satisfaction. Whether the object be to obtain a 
concession from an employer or to check population, the one 
necessity for working men is to know whether they can de- 
pend upon one another. 

" We do not despair. Although plenty of men are to be 
found in every rank of life who recklessly produce families 
which they have no means of supporting, there are only two 
classes of whom it can be said, that such shameless selfish- 
ness is the rule rather than the exception — the agricultural 
paupers and the clergy of the Established Church. Both these 
classes abdicate all responsibility, and are content to leave 
the prospects of their offspring to chance or charity. Among 
the skilled mechanics earning comfortable wages, there is, 
we believe, something more of prudence and self-respect ; 
but it is hardly to be expected that improvement in this re- 
spect will become general, so long as public opinion look? 
leniently upon conduct as degrading as it is anti-social. At 
present if an artisan limits his family within reasonable 


bounds it is for reasons that concern only himself, and those 
dependent on him. He objects to diminish his comforts ; 
he thinks it his duty to give his children a fair start in life , 
he desires to exempt his wife from the miserable drudgery 
which a large and constantly increasing family entails. All 
these motives deserve the highest respect ; but regard for 
the interests of his class would be a still nobler principle of 
action. Everything leads him to view his class as a whole, 
possessing common objects and common interests, — every- 
thing which accustoms him to sacrifice his individual tastes 
and inclinations, when they conflict with the well-being of 
the whole body, must tend to force this momentous question 
on his attention. It is combination alone which will bring 
him face to face with the great difficulty of the social pro- 
blem. When once he feels that to be the parent of an im- 
moderately large family is, in the eyes of his fellows, a self- 
ish and unjustifiable draught on the common fund, he will 
shrink from incurring their well-merited censure. It is not 
too much, therefore, to expect that trades' unions will event- 
ually prove a check on the increase of population, and so 
confer an important benefit on society at large." — Stuart 
Mill's Political Economy. 



Among- the varied aspects which the question of a pruden- 
tial check on population assumes, one is to be found in the 
following extract from a recent work of Dr. Hall on " Sleep." 
The book contains many valuable suggestions on this, and 
kindred subjects. 

" The plan of this book is to show the destructive influ- 
ence on health and life which bad air exercises ; to state a 
variety of causes of deterioration, among which the most 
rapid in their effects are emanations from the human body, 
and the expirations from the lungs ; and therefore, as we 
spend a third of our existence in sleep, during which, in 
consequence of its passive condition, the corporeal system is 
greatly more liable to the influence of the causes of disease, 
it is of the utmost consequence that every practical and 
rational means for securing a pure air for the chamber should 
be employed, the most important of these being large rooms 
and single beds. 

" It is not only unwise, it is unnatural and degenerative, 
for one person to pass the night habitually in the same bed 
or room with another, whatever may be the age, sex, or re- 
lationship of the parties. Unwise, because it impairs the 
general health and undermines the constitution, by reason of 
the fact, that the atmosphere of any ordinary chamber occu- 
pied by more than one sleeper, is speedily vitiated, and that 



in this vitiated condition, it is breathed over and over again 
for the space of the eight hours usually passed in sleep, 
amounting in the aggregate, to one-third of a man's entire 
existence. Unnatural, because it is contrary to our in- 
stincts ; and it is lowering, because it dimislies that mutual 
consideration and respect which ought to prevail in social 
life. A person feels elevated in proportion to the deference 
received from another, and there springs up a self-restraint, 
a consciousness of personal dignity, which has an exalting 
effect on the whole physical, moral, and social nature of 
man ; but the habitual occupation of the same chamber 
must largely detract from these in a variety of ways. 

" A conjectui-al reason forms another argument ao-ainst 
two persons sleeping near each other. Each individual has 
an amount of electrical influence, which in its normal pro- 
portion, is health to him. Electricity, like air and water, 
tends constantly to an equilibrium, and when two bodies 
come near each other, having different quantities, that 
which has the greatest imparts to that which has the least, 
until both are equal. The lightning and the thunder are 
caused by this exchange between a cloud which has plus, 
aud another has its share, minus. Wind is the passing of 
air from a section which has more to another which has less. 
But if a human body \^^th its healthful share of electricity 
or other influence, gives part of it to another which has less, 
it gives away just that much of its life, and must die, unless 
it is recovered in some way ; hence the frequent fact, which 
it needs no authority to substantiate, that a healthy young 
infant, who sleeps with an old person, will wither and wilt 
and wane and die. Thus also, the healthy have been ab* 
served to grow diseased themselves, by sleeping with sickly 

" In the author's experience, of some twenty years, in 
the special study and treatment of common consumption of 


the lungs, the fact has stood out with constant confirmation, 
that of the widows and widowers applying for relief, quite 
a large proportion had lost their companions by con- 

" On the other hand no fact has come to light as yet, 
which proves that the more weak or sickly person is at all 
benefited by what injures the healthier party. 

"If, then, two clouds of difi'erent electrical states cannot 
approach each other without a mutual change of conditions, 
and if man, who has an electrical state natural and healthful 
to him, comes near another in an unhealthful state, it would 
seem demonstrative that harm, by an unchangeable physical 
law, must fall to the healthier without benefiting the other ; 
and that sleeping toaether in the same bed is a certain inju- 
ry, and ought to be avoided as a habit by every reflecting 
person who is so fortunate as to have the means of having a 
room and a bed to himself. It certainly is undeniable, that 
influences are exchanged, call them what we may, which 
waste away the life of the child, and make it wither and wilt 
and die, like a flower without water. The same is true of 
the robust sleeping with the weakly, and the feeble sleep- 
ing with the strong. This interchange of influence from 
close association is such, that in the course of years the man 
and wife have been taken for brother and sister. But it is 
a law of nature enforced by authority, human and divine, 
that blood-relations shall not intermarry ; observation shows 
that it deteriorates the race morally, mentally, and physical- 
ly This may point to the fact that human health, that is, 
the perfection of our physical nature, at least its preserva- 
tion, is dependent to a great extent on intermarriages be- 
tween persons who are as great a remove as possible from 
one another, and we may say, of electrical states as difi'erent 
as possible. It must be confessed that this is conjecture as 
to the system. — but the one fact is clear, that sleeping toge- 


ther in the same bed is destructive to tealtli as between the 
old and the young, as between the well and the sick, and we 
may infer as between persons of different constitutions, as 
in the case of man and wife. Divinity has wisely ordered 
that the preservation and perpetuation of the race should 
depend on the gratification of certain appetites and propen- 
sities, and that such gratifications should be pleasurable. 
But a high wisdom dictates that these should not be blunted 
by immoderate indulgence, nor marred by too frequent rep- 
etition ; and it should be remembered that they are all un- 
der the same general laws, for infinite wisdom avoids unne- 
cessary complications and diversities. ' Few and simple,' 
may be considered the description of all the regulations ne- 
cessary for the preservation of corporeal man. ' Regularity 
and moderation,' is written on all that gives us pleasure, 
with a wise view that it should wear out only with life, and 
that at a good old age. The regulations connected with 
eating, drinking, sleeping, etc, are so much alike, the temp- 
tation to over-indulge so constant, the necessity of restraint 
so apparent, and the evils of excess as to times and amounts 
so much to be dreaded, that a volume might be filled in 
illustrating each. It may, however, suffice to treat only of 
one or two, leaving it to the intelligence and aptness of the 
reader to make a general application, and thus much time 
and space will be saved, while the practical lessons will be 
equally valuable. 

"Instinct is given to the brute, but diviner reason to man ; 
the great aim and end of both being the preservation and 
perpetuation of the species of each. This instinct and rea- 
son were implanted for the purpose of regulating the enjoy- 
ment of those pleasures which are wisely and benevolently 
made a happiness and a necessity. Instinct leads the brute 
to the indulgence of the appetites, and how often and how 
much it shall eat and drink, and sleep is apportioned in a 


manner wticli makes excess impracticable ; hence there is 
a happy exemption from the million forms of disease and 
pain and suffering belonging to the lot of man. He was 
made of a nobler nature, and treated as a nobleman, in that 
he was not bound down by rules and regulations as inflexi- 
ble as fetters of brass, but was left to govern himself, to 
choose for himself, to act for himself, with the reward of ele- 
vation here and happiness hereafter, if he deport himself 
well ; but with the penalty of suffering and death, physical 
and moral, if he failed to practice a high and a wise and a 
dignified self-restraint, the first element of which, as to eat- 
ing, drinking and sleeping, is uniformity, A certain amount 
of sleep rests, renews and strengthens the whole man, but 
to accomplish such a result, sleep must be regular. As to 
what constitutes regularity, it is only necessary to remark, 
that the general habit should be to retire at the same hour 
in the early evening of every day. In a short time the re- 
sult will be an ability to go to sleep within a few moments 
after retiring, and to sleep continually until morning, pro- 
vided the sleeper leaves his bed the moment he first wakes 
up, and does not sleep during the day. In this way sleep 
will be refreshing, will be delicious, and to the busy worker 
of the brain or the body, will be worth more than silver or 
gold, and this priceless habit of sleeping soundly will be 
continued to a good old age. 

" It is in one sense a daily miracle that a man wakes up 
out of sleep ; the more it is considered the more wonderful 
will it appear. With a regularity of retirement, and ar- 
ranging to guard against interruptions, nature wakes us up 
the very moment the system has had enough repose — the 
propensity will come on within a few minutes of the regu- 
lar time, will grow stronger until it is yielded to, and event- 
ually will become in a measure irresistible, or its resistance 
will be attended with great discomfort. Another result 


will be, that the body will wake up from sleep within a few 
minutes of the same point of time, from one month's end to 
another, being a little sooner or later, making variations ac- 
cording to the temperature of the weather, the condition of 
the atmosphere, and the amount of the exercise of the pre- 
ceding day. Thus it is with other desires of the animal na- 
ture. Let there be an appointed time, not to be changed 
for any common reason ; the feelings will come at that ap- 
pointed time, and when satisfied, nature calls for no more 
until the appointed time comes round again. 

" But suppose enough sleep is not given. Suppose we 
make an effort to rob nature of her due allowance, madness, 
unending and hopeless is the result ; if the curtailment is 
not great, various degrees of debility and wasting and de- 
cline come on apace. 

" Suppose, on the other hand, it is attempted to force more 
sleep on nature than she requires, it is an unnatural sleep, 
it does not rest and refresh and invigorate ; and instead of 
having more good sleep, the whole of it is restless and dis- 
turbed, and we lose the lusciousness of it all. 

" As to eating there is a remarkable parallel If a man 
eats when he is decidedly hungry, and at regular hours of 
the day, not stimulating or teasing or tempting the appetite 
by a great variety of food or otherwise, he will be regularly 
hungry under ordinary circumstances, will digest his food 
well, and will not desire it especially, except at the stated 

" If, on the other hand, the appetite is stimulated, if it is 
tempted, or if a person places himself in a situation where 
food can be had for the turning around, or for the stretching 
out of the hand, and it is taken when there is no special de- 
sire for it, and when the person would just as soon let it 
alone as to take it, under these circumstances a fictitious ap- 
petite will be created, the digestion will be deranged, a de- 


praved craving for food will be set up, but no sooner will 
it be swallowed, than some troublesome feeling will arise, 
only to be arrested by another gratification ; and thus the 
whole life is a craving, an unsatisfied desire, and so much 
of a burden that the predominating wish is to die. 

" In this same manner have multitudes fallen from hisrh 
positions into degrading habits of beastly intoxication, by 
allowing themselves to have convenient drinks at hand, and 
at first txD taste them, not for any particular relish, but just 
to be doing something ; and having no regular hours for 
drink, and no regular quantity, an unnatural desire springs 
up, a steady craving is generated, increasing in its remorse- 
lessness day by day, until there is no happiness but in con- 
stant indulgence, when even that ceases to satisfy, and life 
is a torture. 

" The appetites, then, are to be gratified at stated times, 
and at none other. They are not to be teased or tempted 
or stimulated by always having at hand the facilities for grati- 
fication but kept in abeyance for fixed occasions ; those oc- 
casions being determined at first by the decided calls of 
nature, which will then be made regularly, moderately, and 
continuously, to the end of life. 

" But if the means of gratification are kept at hand, if 
the mind is permitted to rest on them and cherish them, to look 
forward to them, to tempt, to tease, to worry, the inevitable 
result will be a morbid appetite, a voracious craving never to 
be satisfied, energies wasted, powers prostrated, and an early 
and irretrievable decay, inducing, in a greater multitude of 
cases than one would imagine, a depressed and soured life 
and a miserable suicide's grave. If the victim survives inces- 
sant tortures, life is a drawn out agony. Inordinate indul- 
gence wastes away the physical constitution, the influence of 
which is perpetuated to ail that is born of it ; throwing 
around the hapless victim the coils of a boa-constrictor, 


wtieli are tightened pitilessly every day, until health, and 
hope, and life itself, mortal and immortal, are crushed out 
helplessly and forever. 

'• What is said of real but unlawful indulgences, is true of 
all forms of the artificial ; and excesses in the lawful are not 
the less pernicious, are not the less destructive to body and 
health, to heart and soul, than are excesses in the unnatural 
and the unlawful ; and in this statement there is a lesson of 
the very highest practical importance to every reader ; 
hence the pains taken in these pages to convince the under- 
standing, that as to the appetites of our nature, barriers 
should be opposed to the too inordinate and too facile oppor- 
tunities of gratification ; and that as to them all, there should 
be such metes and bounds as the nobler reason may indicate, 
and as observation and experience may show are proper, 
healthful and safe. Without wise restraints, as experienced 
physicians well know, eflfects unsuspected by the sufferers 
themselves, or by their friends, are sometimes induced, 
which have a deplorable influence on mind and body ; as to 
the latter wearing it away into hopeless emaciation and de- 
cline ; and as to the mind, inducing an exaggeration of 
many of the most undesirable charateristics of our nature ; 
it becomes unsteady, vacillating, fretful, morose and sus- 
picious ; self-respect and self-esteem are lost ; an intolerable 
depression weighs down the whole man ; hope, desire and 
ambition fail, and relief is mostly sought in suicide, the sor- 
rowful verdict being, ' died by his own hand ;' a verdict 
rendered oftener than many think for, over the doubly dis- 
honored body ; dishonored in the manner of the death, and 
more deeply still by the degrading causes of it. 

" Such being some of the results of over-indulgences, 
thoughtful persons naturally seek for some rule of guidance, 
and we are not left without an index, without some friendly 
*ine of right and safety. Revelation seems to mark out that 


line, interposes a mete and bound, decides the measure of 
our gratifications in the comprehensive expressions * ' Be 
ye temperate in all things.' ' Let your moderation be known 
to all.' If this temperance is not observed, if this moder- 
ation is not practiced habitually, persistently, and with a 
wise noble heroic self-denial, the penalty will not fail to be 
inflicted, pleasure will first lose its keenness, next it will 
pall upon the senses, and ultimately fail. In one direction 
sleep has been lost ; in another the appetite for food has 
been lost ; and the person becomes the victim of ills, physi- 
cal, mental and moral, which makes of life a crushing bur- 
den, a miserable failure, a continued curse. 

" It is to the excessive indulgence of the appetite which 
leisure and easy opportunity affords in large cities, that 
family names die out so soon. It is rare in Paris, that the 
grandchild reaches manhood in vigorous health, if at all, 
whose parents and grandparents were born and lived and 
died in that voluptuous capital. The rapid disappearance 
of family names which were prominent and numerous in 
New York in the begining of the present century, shows 
that the greatest city in the New World is not behind the 
greatest of the Old, in the respect named ; not owing wholly, 
it is true, to extravagant indulgences, but largely owing to 
that, beyond contradiction. 

" In every direction, idleness and opportunity have led 
multitudes everywhere, in the city and in the country to 
brutalize themselves. For example, one very common cause 
of some of the worst forms of dyspeptic disease is, the not 
being particularly engaged, while at the same time, some 
inviting article of food is at hand in the same room. This 
has been already referred to ; it is the same in relation to 
drink, and every other form of indulgence, and there is no 
safety against any of them, but in the interposition of ef- 
ficient barriers to too facile gratifications, and the more of 


these a man can erect, the safer will he be, and they are 
wise, who use all means for the purpose which can even 
slightly aid in accomplishing the result, 

" The reflecting reader can here form the requisite rules 
of action ; the first great laws being regularity and temper- 
ance ; the latter being promoted by not having at hand the 
easy opportunity of indulgence ; by putting temptation oit of 
the way ; by cultivating an active and fully occupied life, and 
by not making it his chief aim and end, to eat and drink and 
enjoy the pleasures which perish in the moment of their 
using, but to live for the high and absorbing purpose of 
human elevation and of achieving an immortal existence be- 
yond the present scenes. Sight and propinquity, and touch 
bring wants which otherwise would not have sprung up, 
wants which grow and strengthen, and overpower, until 
reason and common sense are swept away as with a flood, 
and the reign of unrestraint sets in, to the end of a complete 
brutalization, and to prevent such results or any approach to 
them, the expedient of the book is proposed, as ofi"ering a 
comparatively easy remedy ; for a quaint writer says : 
' Y/hen a man has once got in the rapids of Niagara, the next 
thing he will do, will be to go over the falls. Having once 
got in, there is no possibilty of getting out. The way for him 
to escape going over, is not to get in the rapids. When a 
man has once put a spark to powder, he need not clap his 
hand upon it to prevent it from going oif. It will do no good. 
The only way for him to keep it from going off, is to keep 
the spark away from it. Many men can let the cup alone if 
they keep away from it, who cannot if they go where it is. 
Many men can abstain from lust, if they do not go within the 
circuit of its malaria, who cannot free themselves from it, 
after they have once been infected by it. Many men can 
control their temper, so long as they avoid everything 
calculated to arouse it, who have no power over it, after it 


has once become aroused. Many of our dispositions must 
be taken care of beforehand, not afterwards. And when 
they have led us into wrong courses, our error consists, not 
in the fact, that we could not keep ourselves, but in the fact 
that we did not learn enough about ourselves to know that 
some parts of our nature were not to be exposed ; that some 
parts of our nature must be carried with watching, with vig- 
ilant fore-looking.' The great principle is well put here, 
that to avoid excesses, we must not put ourselves in the way 
of a too easy indulgence of what is allowable. If all the evils 
which arise from any kind of over-indulgence, ended in the 
persons who practice them, it would be comparatively speak- 
ing, a happy thing ; but they are far-reachiug in their per- 
nicious influences ; they extend beyond those who practice, 
and are carried into the ages to come, destined to be a blight . 
on generations yet unborn. 

" All excesses beget debility of the organs connected 
with them, and these organs, whether they be the lungs, the 
stomach, the liver, or any others, will always, under this 
excessive action or stimulation, prepare a vitiated, imper- 
fect material, diseased and monstrous, according to circum- 
stances. Hence the multitude of weakly, sickly, puny per- 
sons in every direction ; muscles flabby, bones slight, face 
wan, gait unstable, and the whole 'physique' an abortion. 
As to the moral nature there flra blight over it all — a want- 
ing to be something, without an ability to be anything — 
fickle, wayward, and unfixed ; while in another direction 
there are low inclinations, vicious tendencies, degrading 
practices, and a general lack of all that is high and noble 
and elevating. As to the mind of those begotten in brutal- 
izing indulgences, it is without strength, without persistence 
of purpose, and without either the capacity or the desire for 
high culture and exalted aims Thus the whole nature, phys- 
ical, mental and moral, is a blight, a blot, a blank. That the 



cTiaracteristies of the fufure being, in body and brain and 
heart, are colored by those of the parents, which prevail 
about the time of reproduction, is conceded by scientific 
men, and demonstrated by facts, A Massachusetts state 
paper, on ' Lunacy,' reports that four-fifths of the idiotic 
children, were those of parents, one or both of whom lived 
in habits of drunkenness — indicating that children begotten 
in the stupor of debauch, will have a vacuity of mind for 
life. On the other hand, it is known that the mother of the 
first Napoleon, for months before he was born, accompanied 
her soldier husband in his martial expeditions, and trav- 
ersed the country side by side with him on horseback, thus 
sharing in all his toils. Hannah of old, conceived and car- 
ried Samuel, while her whole nature was imbued with a 
deep religious devotion, under the influence of which she 
consecrated the future prophet to the supreme service of his 
Maker. It would seem then to be a wise forethought, that 
perpetuation should be accomplished under favoring con- 
ditions of mind and body ; the latter in high health, invigo- 
rated by a regular, unbroken and refreshing sleep, the blood 
all pure, by an eight or ten hours breathing of fresh, life- 
giving air ; while the former, fully aroused to a sense of 
high responsibilities, the heart and the affections, at the 
same time, loving and pure^vould present a combination of 
desirable circumstances, which could not possibly be hoped 
for in any other way than by the expedient which the idea 
of the book proposes, whereby everything could be made a 
subject of deliberate, thoughtful, and rational calculation, 
and surprise, in moments of mental, moral and physical un- 
fitness, would be impossible." 



We eontiime this extract from Margaret Fuller's " Women 
of tlie Nineteenth Century," in order to show the elevating 
effects of a high moral and intellectual culture on woman. 
While the father ignores his duties and his responsibilities, 
and the rights of his daughter to the highest development 
of her best capacities, he must expect evidences of weakness 
and folly as the legitimate fruits of such abnegation.* 

" Whenever religion (I mean the thirst for truth and 
good, not the love of sect and dogma,) had its course, the 
original design was apprehended in its simplicity, and the 
dove presaged sweetly from Didona's oak. I was talking 
on this subject with Miranda, a woman who, if any in the 
world, could speak without heat and bitterness of the posi- 
tion of her sex. Her father was a man who cherished no 
sentimental reverence for woman, but a full belief in the 
equality of the sex. She was his oldest child, and came to 
him when he needed a companion. From the time she 
could speak and go alone he addressed her not as a play- 
thing but as a living mind. Among the few verses he ever 
wrote was a copy addressed to this child when the first 

* The riglits of children are clearly defined by Herbert Spencer in 
liis recent work on "Education," to which excellent and xisefal book 
we refer the reader. 


locks were cut from her head, and the reverence he ex- 
pressed on this occasion for that cherished head he never 
belied. It was to him the temple of an immortal intellect. 
He respected his child, however, too much to be an indulg- 
ent parent. He called on her for clear judgment, for cour- 
age, for honor and fidelity ; in short, for such virtues as he 
knew. In so far as he possessed the keys to the wonders 
of the universe, he allowed free use of them to her, and by 
the incentive of a high expectation, he forbade, as far as 
possible, that she should let the privilege lie idle. 

•' Thus the child was early led to feel herself a child of 
the spirit. She took her place easily, not only in the world 
of organized being, but in the world of mind. A dignified 
sense of self-dependence was given as all her portion, and 
she found it a sure anchor. Herself securely anchored, her 
relations with others were established with equal security. 
She was fortunate in a total absence of those charms which 
would have drawn to her bewildering flatteries, and in a 
strung electric nature which repelled those who did not be- 
long to her, and attracted those who did. With men and 
women her relations were noble — afi"ectionate without pas- 
sion, intellectual without coldness. The world was free to 
her, and she lived freely in it. Outward adversity came, 
and inward conflict, but that faith and self-respect had been 
early awakened which always leads at last to an outward se- 
renity and an inward peace. 

*' Of Miranda I had always thought as an example that 
the restraints upon the sex were insuperable only to those 
who think them so, or to those who noisily strive to break 
them. She had taken a course of her own, and no man 
stood in her way. Many of her acts had been unusual, but 
they excited no uproar. Few helped, but none checked 
her, and the many men who knew her mind and her life, 
showed to her confidence as to a brother, gentleness as to a 


sister. And not only refined but yery coarse men approved 
and aided one in whom they saw resolution and clearness of 
design. Her mind was often the leading one, always ef. 

" When I talked with her upon these matters, and had 
Slid very much what I have written, she smiling replied. 

And yet we must admit that I have been fortunate, and 
this should not be. My good father's early trust gave the 
first bias, and the rest followed, of course. It is true that I 
have had less outward aid in after years than most women, 
but that is of little consequence. Religion was early awak- 
ened in my soul, and a sense that what the soul is capable 
to ask it must attain, and that, though I might be aided and 
instructed by others, I must depend on myself as the only 
constant friend. This self-dependence, which was honored 
in me, is deprecated as a fault in most women. They are 
taught to learn their rule from without, not to unfold it from 

'* ' This is the fault of man, who is still vain, and wishes 
to be more important to woman, than by right he ought to 

" ' Men have not shown this disposition towards you,' I 

" ' No I because the position I early was enabled to take, 
was one of self-denial. And were all women as sure of 
their wants as I was, the result would be the same. But 
they are so overloaded with precepts by guardians, who 
think that nothing is so much to be dreaded for a woman as 
originality of thought or character, that their minds are im- 
peded by doubts till they lose their chance of fair free pro- 
portions. The difficulty is to get them to the point from 
which they .shall naturally develope self respect, and learn 
self help. 

" * Once I thought that men would help to forward this 


state of things more than I do now. I saw so many of them 
wretched in the connexions they had formed in weakness 
and vanity. They seemed so glad to esteem women when- 
ever they could. 

" ' The soft arms of affection, said one of the most dis- 
cerning spirits, will not suffice for me, unless on them I 
see the steel bracelets of strength. 

" ' But early I perceived that men never, in any extreme 
of despair, wished to be women. On the contrary, they 
were ever ready to taunt one another at any sign of weak- 
ness, with — Art thou not like the woman who 

" ' The passage ends various ways, according to the occa- 
sion, and the rhetoric of the speaker. When they admired 
any woman they were inclined to speak of her as " above 
her sex." Silently I observed this, and feared it argued a 
rooted scepticism, which for ages had been fastening on 
the heart, and which only an age of miracles could erad- 
icate. Ever I have been treated with great sincerity ; and 
I look upon it as a signal instance of this, that an intimate 
friend of the other sex said, in a fervent moment, that I 
" deserved in some star to be a man." He was much sur- 
prised when I disclosed my view of my position and hopes, 
when I declared my faith of the feminine side ; the side of 
love, of beauty, of holiness, was now to have its full chance, 
and that, if either were better, it was better now to be a 
woman, for even the slightest achievement of good was fur- 
thering an especial work of our time. He smiled incredu- 
lous. " She makes the best she can of it," thought he. " Let 
Jews believe the pride of Jewry, but I am of the better 
sort, and know better." 

"'Another used as high praise, in speaking of a character 
in literature, the words " a manly woman." So in the noble 
passage of Ben Jonson : 


" ' I meaut the day-star should not brighter rise, 

Nor shed like influence from its lucent seat ; 
I meant she should be courteous, facile, sweet, 

Free from that solemn vice of greatness, pride ; 
I meant each softest virtue there should meet, 

Fit in that softer bosom to abide ; 
Only a learned and a manly soul 

I purposed her, that should with even powers 
The rock, the spindle, and the shears control 

Of destiny, and spin her own free hours.' " 




From " Physical Education," by Herbert Spencer. 

"Tf by some strange chance not a vestige of us descended 
to tlie remote future save a pile of our school books, or some 
college examination papers, we may imagine how puzzled 
an antiquary of the period would be, on finding in them no 
indication that the learners were ever likely to be parents. 
* This must be the curriculum for their celibates,' we may 
fancy him concluding. ' I perceive here an elaborate pre- 
paration for many things : especially for reading the books 
of extinct nations and of co-existing nations, (from which 
indeed it seems clear that these people had very little 
worth reading in their own tongue,) but I find no reference 
whatever to the bringing up of children. They could not 
have been so absurd as to omit all training for this gravest 
of responsibilities. Evidently then, this was the school 
course of one of their monastic orders.' 

" Seriously is it not an astonishing fact, that though on 
the treatment of ofi'spring depend their lives or deaths, and 
their moral welfare or ruin, yet not one word of instruction 
on the treatment of offspring is ever given to those who will 
hereafter be parents ? Is it not monstrous that the fate of a 


new generation should be left to the chances of unreasoning 
custom, impulse, fancy — goined with the suggestions of igno- 
rant nurses, and the prejudiced counsel of grandmothers ? 
If a merchant commenced business without any knowledge 
of arithmetic and book-keeping, we should exclaim at his 
folly, and look for disastrous consequences. Or if, before 
studying anatomy, a man set up as surgical operator, we 
should wonder at his audacity, and pity his patients. But 
that parents should begin the difficult task of rearing child- 
ren without ever having given a thought to the principles — 
physical, moral and intellectual — which ought to guide them, 
excites neither surprise at the actors, nor pity for their 

" To tens of thousands that are killed, add hundreds of 
thousands that survive with feeble constitutions, and mil 
lions that grow up with constitutions not so strong as they 
should be — and you will have some idea of the curse inflict- 
ed on their off"spring by parents ignorant of the laws of life. 
Do but consider for a moment that the regimen to which 
children are subject is hourly telling upon them to their 
life-long injury or benefit, and that there are twenty ways 
of going wrong to one way of going right, and you wrill get 
some idea of the enormous mischief that is almost every 
where inflicted by the thoughtless, hap-hazard system in 
common use. Is it decided that a boy shall be clothed in 
some flimsy short dress, and be allowed to go playing about 
with limbs reddened with cold ? The decision will tell on 
his whole future existence — either in illness or in stunted 
growth, or in deficient energy, or in a maturity less vigorous 
than it ought to have been, and consequent hindrances to 
success and happiness. Are children doomed to a monoto- 
nous dietary, or a dietary deficient in nutritiveness ? Their 
ultimate physical power, and their efiiciency as men and 
women, will inevitably be more or less diminished by it. 


Are they forbidden vociferous play, or (being too ill-clotbed 
to bear exposure) are they kept in»doors in cold weather ? 
They are certain to fall below that measure of health and 
strength to which they would have attained. When sons 
and daughters grow up sickly and feeble, parents commonly 
regard the event as a misfortune — as a visitation of Provi- 
dence. Thinking after the prevalent chaotic fashion, they 
assume that these evils come without causes, or that the 
causes are supernatural. Nothing of the kind. In some 
cases the causes are doubtless inherited, but in most cases 
foolish regulations are the causes. Very generally parents 
themselves are responsible for all this pain, this debility, 
this depression, this misery. They have undertaken to 
control the lives of their oflFspring from hour to hour, with 
cruel carelessness they have neglected to learn anything 
about these vital processes which they are unceasingly af- 
fecting by their commands and prohibitions ; in utter ignor 
ance of the simplest physiologic laws, they have been year 
by year undermining the constitutions of their children, and 
have so inflicted disease and premature death not only on 
them but on their descendants. 

" Equally great are the ignorance and the consequent in- 
jury, when we turn from physical training to moral train- 
ing. Consider the young mother and her nursery legisla- 
tion. But a few years ago she was at school, where her 
memory was crammed with words, and names, and dates, 
and her reflective faculties scarcely in the slightest degree 
exercised — where not one idea was given her respecting the 
methods of dealing with the opening mind of childhood ; 
and where her discipline did not in the least fit her for 
thinking out methods of her own. The intervening years 
have been spent in practising music, in fancy work, in novel 
reading, and in party-going ; no thought having yet been 
given to the grave responsibilities of maternity ; and scarcely 


any of that solid intellectual culture obtained which would 
be some preparation for such responsibilities. And now 
see her with an unfolding human character committed to 
her charge — see her profoundly ignorant of the phenomena 
with which she has to deal, undertaking to do that which 
can be done but imperfectly, even with the aid of the pro- 
foundest "knowledge. She knows nothing about the nature 
of the emotions, their order of evolution, their functions, or 
where use ends and abuse begins. She is under the im- 
pression that some of the feelings are wholly bad, which is 
not true of any one of them ; and that others are good, how- 
ever far they may be carried, which is also not true of any 
one of them. And then, ignorant as she is of that with 
which she has to deal, she is equally ignorant of the 
eflfects that will be produced on it by this or that treat- 
ment. What can be more inevitable than the disas- 
trous results we see hourly arising ? Lacking knowl- 
edge of mental phenomena, with their causes and con- 
sequences, her interference is frequently more mischiev- 
ous than absolute passivity would have been. This and 
that action, which are quite normal and benificial, she fre- 
quently thwarts, and so diminishes the child's happiness and 
profit, injures its temper and her own, and produces estrange- 
ment. Deeds which she thinks it desirable to encourage, 
she gets performed by threats and bribes, or by exciting a 
desire for applause ; considering little what the inward mo- 
tive may be, so long as the outward conduct conforms ; and 
thus cultivating hypocrisy, and fear and selfishness in place 
of good feeling. While insisting on truthfulness, she con- 
stantly sets an example of untruth by threatening penalties 
which she does not inflict. While inculcating self-control, 
she hourly visits on her little ones angry scoldings for acts 
that do not call for them. She has not the remotest idea 
that in the nursery as in the world, that alone is the truly 


salutary discipline wtich on all conduct, good and bad, 
the natural consequences — the consequences, pleasurable or 
painfulj which in the nature of things such conduct tends to 
bring. Being thus without theoretic guidance, and quite in- 
capable of guiding herself by tracing the mental processes 
going on in her children, her rule is impulsive, inconsistent, 
mischievous, often in the highest degree, and would indeed 
be generally ruinous, were it not that the overwhelming 
tendency of the growing mind to assume the moral type of 
the race usually subordinates all minor influences. 

" And then the culture of the intellect — is not this, too, 
mismanaged in a similar manner ? Grant that the phenom- 
ena of intelligence conforms to laws ; grant that the evolution 
of intelligence in a child also conforms to laws ; and it follows 
inevitably that education can be rightly guided only by a 
knowledge of those laws. To suppose that you can properly 
regulate this process of forming and accumulating ideas, 
without understanding the nature of the process is absurd. 
How widely then, must teaching as it is, differ from teaching 
as it should be ; when hardly any parents, and but very few 
teachers, know anything about psychology. As might be ex- 
pected, the system is grievously at fault, alike in matter and 
in manner. While the right class of facts are withheld, the 
wrong class is forcibly administered in the wrong way and in 
the wrono- order. With that common limited idea of educa- 
tion which confines it to knowledge gained from books, 
parents thrust primers into the hands of their little ones 
years to soon, to their great injury. Not recognising the 
truth that the function of books is suplementary — that they 
form an indirect means to knowledge when direct means fail 
— a means of seeing through other men what you cannot 
see for yourself ; they are eager to give second hand facts 
in place of the first hand facts. Not perceiving the enor 
mous value of that spontaneous education which goes on in 


early years — not perceiving that a child's restless observa- 
tion, instead of being ignored or checked, should be diligent- 
ly administered to, and made as accurate and complete as 
possible , they insist in occupying the eyes and thoughts 
with things that are, for the time being, incomprehensible 
and repugnant. Possessed by a superstition that worships 
the symbols of knowledge instead of the knowledge itself, 
they do not see that only when his acquaintance with the 
objects and processes of the household, the streets, and the 
fields, is becoming tolerably exhaustive — only then should 
a child be introduced to the new sources of information 
which books supply : and this, not only because immediate 
cognition is of far greater value than mediate cognition ; but 
also, because the words contained in books can be rightly 
interpreted into ideas, only in proportion to the antecedent 
experience of things. Observe next, that this formal instruct- 
ion, far too soon commenced, is carried on with little reference 
to the laws of development. Intellectual progress is of ne- 
cessity from the concrete to the abstract. But regardless of 
this, highly abstract subjects, such as grammar, which should 
come quite late, are begun quite early. Political geogra- 
phy, dead and uninteresting to a child, and which should be 
an appendage to sociological studies is commenced betimes ; 
while physical geography, comprehensible and comparative- 
ly attractive to a child, is in great part passed over. Nearly 
every subject is arranged in abnormal order : definitions, and 
rules, and principles being put first, instead of being disclo- 
sed, as they are in the order of nature, through the study of 
cases. And then, pervading the whole is the vicious system 
of rote learning — a system of sacrificing the spirit to the 
letter. See the results. What with perceptions unnatural- 
ly dulled by early thwarting, and coerced attention to 
books — what with the mental confusion produced by teach- 
ing subjects before they can be understood, and in each of 


tliem giving generalizations, before tlie facts of whicli tliese 
are the generalizations — what with making the pupil a mere 
passive recipient of other's ideas, and not in the least lead- 
ing him to be an active inquirer or self-instructor — and 
what with taxing the faculties to excess, there are very few 
minds that become as efficient as they might be. Exami- 
nations being once passed, books are laid aside ; the great- 
er part of what has been acquired, being unorganized, soon 
drops out of recollection ; what remains is mostly inert — 
the art of applying knowledge not having been cultivated ; 
and there is but little power either of accurate observation 
or independent thinking. To which add, that while much 
of the iaformation is of relatively small value, an immense 
amount of information of transcendent value is entirely 
passed over." 



In ti eating of the evils which curse society, and impede 
human deyelopment, we must not overlook tobacco— the 
pernicious source and origin of many ills. If rum has slain 
its thousands, tobacco has enslaved its tens of thousands ; 
making them grovel before it in the most abject and de- 
moralizing vassalage. The king and the peasant, the presi- 
dent and the plow boy, have been alike its victims ; and I 
hazard nothing in saying that while it has poisoned their 
bodies, it has depraved their souls. The discovery of 
America has, doubtless, been a great blessing to mankind ; 
yet the truth that there is no earthly good unmixed with 
evil, might be summed up tersely, in the simple phrase — 
America gave to civilization her tobacco. Effete China may 
have smoked herself stupid before Columbus searched for 
his new passage to the Indies — but Europe, at least, was 
ignorant af the existence of this vile weed ; which proves 
to be a stimulant to all vices, and a narcotic to all virtues. 

It is not necessary to write an elaborate essay upon the 
nature and effects of this poisonous production ; that has 
beon done by abler pens — seme of them writing from the 
depths of a bitter experience. The use of tobacco has been 
satirized by the keenest wits ; but the inherent vulgarity 
which attaches to every mode in which it is taken, can never 


be strongly enough expressed by any language. When the 
caricaturist would represent a coarse, unmannerly woman, 
he pictures her smoking a cigar ; I do not know that the 
boldest, has ever dared so to malign her, as to represent her 
chewing a quid. This fact is more than ample to illustrate 
the aesthetics of tobacco. Doubtless, there are great and 
good men who are addicted to its use ; but they were not 
great, nor greatly good, when they commenced the practice. 
Many gentlemen take a cigar after dinner, in order, they 
say, to promote digestion ; but if they did not indulge their 
appetites to repletion, the antidote would not be required. 

Of all the modes of using tobacco, that of chewing is 
decidedly the vilest — the most unnatural — and at its first 
introduction to a human palate the most artificially forced, 
to create a taste for its instrinsically repugnant and noxious 
qualities. He who has achieved a victory over Nature, by 
this desecration of one of his five senses, not only pollutes 
his mouth, but the very air he breathes, and thus makes 
himself personally ofi'ensive toothers. This use of tobacco 
is, in its entailed effects, and consequences, highly detri 
mental to the nervous system, and to the whole consti- 
tution, as it promotes an unnatural discharge of saliva, and 
other secretions, so essential to a perfect digestion. Hence 
the pale and cadaverous faces — the lean and dyspeptic as- 
pect, of its self-immolated victims. Again, the constant and 
unnatural expectoration attending this habit, engenders an 
habitual thirst and craving for alcoholic stimulants, leading 
to drunkenness and all its bitter concomitants. 

" It is enough to say, that there are very few gross, bad 
men, who do not use tobacco. Gro into the lowest purlieus of 
vice and poverty, in the midst of theft, beggary, and starv- 
ation — in the midst of nameless degradation, and indescri- 
bable filth, there tobacco always abounds. 

The use of tobacco is one of the very worst forms of stim- 


ulating the human system — the most filthy ; and has a 
steadily debasing tendency in its moral effects. "While it 
does not produce intoxication, it stultifies all the finer sensi- 
bilities, by unduly exciting every grosser appetite and cra- 
ving, which belongs merely to the physical being 

Unfortunately we have no " line or plummet," where- 
with to measure the vitiating effects arising from the use of 
this pernicious plant ; if we had, we should discover that 
every ounce of tobacco taken into the .circulation would 
show a depreciation in the mental and moral tone of its 
victim. Like all inherited tendencies, this debasing influ- 
ence descends as do other " sins of the fathers, even to the 
third and fourth generations," Now the same beneficent 
laws of inheritance, which insure symmetry and fair propor- 
tions when allowed their legitimate action — will when thus 
perverted by vice and ignorance, degrade and stultify the 
imnocent offspring. In the abodes of vice and poverty may 
be seen pitiable little weaklings, defrauded of their birth- 
right — ^health aud strength — deprived of all that makes life 
joyous — martyrs to an ignoble propensity of degraded 

The subject treated in these pages is so vast and many- 
sided that new points are constantly presenting themselves, 
both from speculative thought upon it, and from the actual 
experience of every day. 

Another of the many evils which stand in the way of a 
harmonious development of offspring, arises from an arbit- 
rary, controling spirit, and a too penurious habit of some 
husbands and fathers. It would seem that men in our day, 
if never before, must see the pernicious effects upon their 
children and society, of many of the kinds of tyranny habitu- 
ally exercised over women. 

Woman's and humanity's great need in maternity, is the 


loving harmonious state of mind. Now it is not in the soul 
that is only human, to love or respect the agents of opres- 
sion and injustice — those by which it suffers humiliation and 
defeat, not only of its reasonable, but of its noblest purpo- 
ses. In pecuniary matters alone, women in American so- 
ciety are too often treated in a spirit quite the opposite to 
that which could inspire an increasing love, and noble trust 
in the fathers of their children. There is many a patient, 
enduring mother in our midst, doing her imperishable life- 
work — giving birth to and rearing her children, who has not 
the freedom in money matters, that her son has, although 
in his teens ; because he is a man and she only a woman* 
It is assumed in behalf of his coming manhood, that he has 
need of a certain freedom in this regard, if he is to grow 
manly ; while her need may be quite ignored so far as she 
cannot enforce it by entreaties, cajolery, or sulking and 
downright grieving. Women do not always spend money 
wisely, or worthily ; neither do men. Yet is it not of less 
importance that some women should abuse their trust in 
such matters, than that one sensitive confiding wife should 
suffer injustice, and have the souls of her children cramped 
and dwarfed through her starved intellect, and her thwarted 
aspirations to attain for them something greater than she, 
unaided, has the ability or power to bestow ? 

The most effectual way to educate women to a rational, a 
noble use of money, is to allow them the uncontroled poses- 
sion of a reasonable amount of it. Such trust and confi- 
dence would, in most cases, insure a sense of responsibili- 
ty for its wise employment. Women have demonstrated 
their executive, and financial abilities too often to have them 
doubted in this age of the world. Miss Martineau, in her 
journal of observation through the Southern States, affirms 
that the plantations owned by women were the most orderly, 


tlie most productive, and the best managed of any that came 
under her observation. 

The prudent conduct of widows, in bringing up their 
families, and in improving their estates is proverbial. A 
New England mother or sister will work her fingers to the 
bone, in order to give a bright ambitious son or brother a 
liberal education, and to place him in a position, whereby 
he may do credit to himself, and reflect honor on his family. 

Moreover, if it were the practice of men engaged in busi- 
ness to settle some portion of property on their wives, (du- 
ring their prosperity,) the commercial panics, with which 
our country is so frequently convulsed, would not, as hereto- 
fore, leave them destitute, and entail a degenerate condition 
on their children, thus retarding civilization and progressive 


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> '^^